MANILA -- The time for a man-eats-dog world is coming to an end. That is, if the national plan of action toward a dog meat-trade free Philippines comes to fruition.
In a statement released on Tuesday, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said attached agency Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) is now spearheading the implementation of the plan, which was crafted during a forum in Baguio City.
“The city, known for its tolerance for dog-meat consumption, was chosen to instill further awareness against the practice,” the DA-BAI statement said.
The Philippines has been criticized by animal advocates “for its apparent inaction toward the dog-meat trade,” the statement said.
“Apart from cruelty to these domestic animals, health and sanitation issues linked to the preparation and cooking of the meat were also raised.”
The BAI cited a case in San Pedro, Laguna, 321 kilometers south of Baguio City, on June 23, where local authorities discovered dead dogs, one apparently slaughtered, in a compound.
The BAI believes dog meat are mixed with goat meat and sold for human consumption.
The statement quoted Director Rubina Cresencio as saying the BAI “has not only taken seriously the campaign against the trade of dogs for their meat, culminating in the crafting of the National Plan of Action, but also ensured the implementation of programs toward a dog meat-trade-free Philippines.”
The campaign is consistent with the country’s commitments to the International Animal Health Standards of the Office International des Epizooties (OIE), which assists the government’s efforts to come up with an improved animal-welfare practices in farms and livestock, the BAI said.
The OIE is also known as the World Organization for Animal Health, the intergovernmental group responsible for improving animal health worldwide.
Minda Manantan, director of the DA-National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS), mentioned that “meats from dogs, cats and other nonfood animals as defined under a new law are declared as “hot meat” and are prohibited from sale and distribution.
Charles Wartenberg, president of Animal Kingdom Foundation Inc., said the recent actions of the Philippine government toward the stopping of the trade of dogs for its meat would be a first in Asia.
“If the country will be successful in this campaign, the country will be gaining more respect and recognition internationally as the first to come up with serious measures against the illegal trade,” Wartenberg was quoted in the statement as saying.