Inhumane dog population management

 
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THE ISSUE

Millions of dogs roam the streets uncared for in Asia. These dogs are often isolated, lonely, hungry and carrying injuries or disease.

Many governments resort to inhumane and ineffective strategies to deal with this overpopulation; in effect culling stray or roaming dogs by poisoning, electrocution and shooting.

Many stray or roaming dogs are born on the streets, others are abandoned or relinquished pets - AfA highlights two main areas of welfare concern for these animals:

  • Unnecessary suffering: stray or roaming dogs lack access to nutritious food, appropriate shelter and qualified veterinary care. Street dogs are vulnerable to malnutrition, injury, disease and abusive treatment from humans.

  • Unnecessary cruelty: stray or roaming dogs are targets for inhumane population control. All too often, governments resort to short term, ineffective and self perpetuating strategies to deal with this overpopulation.

Fear of rabies is a major driver for millions of unnecessary dog deaths every year. Where rabies is endemic, so is cruelty to dogs.  Strategies include extermination by poisoning, electrocution and shooting, resulting in slow and agonising deaths.

There are humane alternatives to dog culling and they offer the most effective way to manage dog populations long-term.

The Asia for Animals Coalition members have extensive experience in providing guidance and support that focues on sterilisation and vaccination against zoonotic disease to manage the overpopulation at source. Additionally, AfA supports education initiatives to promote responsible pet ownership and humanely address the overpopulation of street dogs by preventing pet abandonment.

The fur trade

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THE ISSUE

It is estimated that over one billion animals are killed every year to supply the demand for fur. Many different species are used in the fur industry, including mink, foxes, raccoon dogs, domestic dogs and cats, seals, bobcats and beavers, but it is rabbits which are killed in the greatest numbers each year.

Fur is predominantly used in the fashion industry where millions of animals are killed to make coats, scarves and accessories. No longer a "luxury item", fur can now be so sourced at low cost, and many designers view fur simply as another fabric without thinking of the suffering experienced to produce it.

How is fur produced?

Every year millions of wild animals, including bobcats, coyotes, foxes, lynx, raccoons, and wolves, are trapped using steel-jaw leg hold traps, body-gripping traps, and wire neck snares; all of which are inhumane devices that inflict great pain and suffering.

Historically, trapping wild animals was used to supply most of the fur trade but, in order to meet escalating demand, today's fur industry now relies on mass factory farming of wild and domestic animals to produce the majority of the world's fashion fur. It is estimated that 85% of fur now comes from intensive factory farms around the world, with an estimated 80% of global fur production now occurring in China where cheap labour and the absence of restrictive regulations make profit margins greater for producers. This has resulted in the suffering of tens of millions of animals each year.

 

The dog meat trade

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THE ISSUE

The trade in dogs destined for human consumption results in the suffering of tens of millions of dogs each year. All stages of the trade- sourcing, transport, sale and slaughter result in unimaginable pain and suffering.

The dog meat trade is arguably the most severe companion animal welfare issue in the region. Whilst dog meat is consumed in several regions of the world, the availability of dog meat is most widespread in Asia, where the welfare concern is greatest due to the large numbers of dogs being stolen from owners, taken from the streets or sourced from farms, transported long distances and inhumanely slaughtered. Conservative estimates suggest that over 30 million dogs are farmed, traded and slaughtered for human consumption in Asia alone each year. However, wherever the dog meat trade occurs, it is either illegal or its production takes place without specific regulation, so accurate statistics regarding the number of dogs slaughtered are impossible to obtain. 

Numerous investigations throughout Asia have documented the severe cruelty inherent in all stages of the dog meat trade- farming, sourcing, transport, sale and slaughter. 

 

The theft of dogs by criminal gangs to supply the demand for dog meat is also an ever-growing problem in many countries in the region, including Vietnam and China. Stolen pets and dogs collected from the streets and rural communities are then transported to the cities on filthy, overcrowded trucks, posing a significant risk to rabies and other communicable disease transmission. 

The AfA Coalition is supporting efforts being led by local animal protection groups, we will continue to lobby governments to take urgent actions to end the production, trade and slaughtering of dogs destined for human consumption, - and to prevent dog meat festivals, in recognition of the grave concerns for both human health and safety and animal welfare.