Sunday, October 21, 2012

“Rescued” from the Thai Dog Meat Trade

According to this article in the Bangkok Post and this YouTube video, the fate of many dogs “saved” from the dog meat trade in the northeast of the country is hardly improved after being rescued. The majority end up dying or disappearing or living in atrocious conditions. Still with some questions unanswered, the conclusion is that despite well-meaning efforts from volunteers and the authorities there is such a lack of funding that the almost 2,000 dogs in the cases investigated had virtually no chance even after rescue.

I commend the chief investigator, John Keeble, for his efforts to understand the trade and for exposing the associated problems post-rescue but I don’t always agree with the detail such as the suggestion that the trade has moved away from stray dogs to stolen pets. From what was shown here, I feel that this is perhaps jumping to conclusions for two reasons. One is that the apparent friendliness and comfort around people that made them believe that even the collarless dogs were ex-pets could just as easily come from village dogs who have a close relationship to people without being owned. These dogs are not stray and neither are they pets. Secondly, there is a continuing problem with pet abandonment in Thailand, so even if a dog is an ex-pet it does not necessarily mean it was stolen or that there is a grieving owner somewhere. The fact that only one of these dogs was ever reunited with its owner was perhaps partly because many ex-owners were not interested in looking.

Although I support the need for work like this, I still have an uneasy feeling that underlying it all is the westerner’s expectation that everybody should have the same attitude towards dogs and that following the British and American model unowned dogs should not exist. 

Learn more about the lives and issue of unowned dogs in my e-book ”A Stray View” available from Bangkok Books (readable as .pdf on any computer)

No comments:

Post a Comment