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India's illegal meat trade continuing amidst the Covid-19 crisis is a shocker: FIAPO

Pritam Kashyap
Pritam Kashyap

Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations (FIAPO), India’s apex animal protection agency has submitted a fresh appeal to the Government of Nagaland to take immediate actions to implement a ban on the sale, smuggling and consumption of dog meat in the State and ensure the enforcement of stringent animal welfare laws.

The controversial Yulin Dog Meat Festival in China concluded on June 30, 2020, amidst widespread global condemnation. FIAPO expressed shock and horror at recent images that have emerged from ‘animal bazaar’ markets in Dimapur where dogs are seen in terrifying conditions, tied up in sacks (gunny bags), waiting at a wet market, for their illegal slaughter, trade and consumption as meat.

Several countries have banned the rearing, sale andconsumption of dogs. For example, Taiwan banned dog and cat meat in 2001 byamending the existing Animal Protection Act of 1993. Thailand (where an estimated1,00,000 dogs are exported to supply Vietnam’s dog market) the slaughtering andconsumption of dogs were made illegal at the end of 2015. Similarly, Vietnam’sNational Assembly also debated the country’s first-ever animal protection regulationsthat could have impacts on the dog meat trade and will help safeguard many speciesof animals from abusive practices.

FIAPO has been working on this issue and engaging with the Nagaland Government since 2016 and have done several undercover investigations on dog meat trade in the region. Their findings show that dogs are still, regularly, smuggled across from Assam into Nagaland each day, often from West Bengal. In Assam ‘dog catchers’  (working for the smugglers) get about Rs. 50 for a single dog that they catch – the same dog when sold at wholesale in Nagaland costs Rs. 1000. In the streets of Nagaland, dog meat sells for Rs. 200 per kg i.e. roughly Rs.2000 per dog which is a 40-50 times increase from the catchers ‘price’ a hundred kilometres away. In 2016 the Government of Nagaland was in the process of banning dog meat; however, there has been no development on that promise and the position of consuming and smuggling of dog meat continues.

The dog meat trade in Nagaland is completely illegal and in complete violation ofvarious laws such as:

  • Indian Penal Code 1860: Section 429 of IPC makes the killing of animals’punishable offence up to 5 years of imprisonment.
  • Food Product Standards and Food Additives Regulations, 2011 andMeat Food Products Order, 1973: the state that only Ovines, Bovines, Suillinesand Caprines can be consumed as meat, consumption of any other animal,including dogs, is strictly prohibited.
  • The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960: Chapter 3, Section 11,Part 1 (a), (d), (e), (f), (g), (h), (k) and (l) list the several acts which areconsidered as cruel towards animals and are punishable. The trade of dogmeat involves packaging dogs in gunny bags with their mouths either tied witha string or sewn shut which is a complete violation of this Act.

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