Oscar winning actress Dame Judy Dench, comedian and actor Ricky Gervais plus stars of the international hit series Downton Abbey have joined forces to produce a hard hitting short film calling on the Thai people to put pressure on the Government to stop the illegal dog meat and skin industries in Thailand.
It comes at a crucial time as the National Legislative Assembly consider Thailand’s first animal welfare bill. Currently the bill avoids the dog meat and skin issue by stating that only animals usually considered as food can be used for that purpose.
Soi Dog Foundation, who have released the film with Thai subtitles, produced for them in the UK by Environment films, stated today that they are working hard to have the eating of dogs and the killing of them for skins made illegal. John Dalley, Vice President of the foundation stated that “Thai people do not consider dogs or cats as food. Some ethnic groups and foreign nationals working in Thailand do, but this is no excuse not to make the practice illegal in a country where the vast majority of its citizens find dog meat consumption abhorrent. By not specifically making the practice illegal it provides a huge loop hole for the traders to continue stealing and trading dogs. In addition to the animal welfare issues surrounding what is, from start to finish, an extremely cruel industry, the trade poses huge issues for human health. The spread of rabies has been clearly linked to the trade, leading the Vietnamese Government to ban the import of dogs for meat from neighboring countries. It is also clearly linked to outbreaks of cholera and trichinellosis as there is no regulation covering hygiene in any country where the practice exists”.
A recent case in Germany where a Vietnamese migrant faces three years in prison for killing and eating his neighbour’s cat highlights the issue. His defence was that this is normal for him, but as other Vietnamese in Germany pointed out, when living in another country one has to abide by the laws of that country. Thailand should not allow such an horrific industry to exist just in order to suit ethnic minorities who choose to live here.
The trade in dogs for meat and skin in Thailand is largely run by organised crime families, who make up to US$25 million per year, mainly through exports of live dogs and dog meat to Vietnam and China, and a growing domestic skin and meat industry. There is also evidence that dog meat is being used in the production of meat balls for consumption in some areas of Thailand, mixed with other meats.
The international release of the three minute film is expected to be seen by millions across the world, where the stars are household names. Viewers will be asked to sign a petition to the Thai government demanding that the illegal trade in dogs for meat and skin be immediately banned.
About Soi Dog Foundation: Soi Dog Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation established in 2003, is a legally registered charity in Thailand, the United States, Australia, the UK, France and Holland. Our mission statement is to improve the welfare of dogs and cats in Asia, resulting in better lives for both the animal and human communities, to create a society without homeless animals, and to ultimately end animal cruelty. John Dalley, co-founder and vice president, is available for interview.
For more information please visit www.soidog.org or www.facebook.com/SoiDogPageInEnglish.