Thursday, September 16, 2010

Eating Dog Meat is Dangerous for People

By Mona Sabalones Gonzalez

It would be a mistake to presume that eating dog meat is a way to address hunger and poverty among humans; or to view it a delicacy for the wealthy. It would be a mistake to say that dogs raised as cattle to be eaten (as happens in China) are different from the dogs one keeps in one’s home as pets.

Dog meat can kill people. An article by Kathleen E. McLaughlin in the Global Post warned that China has an alarming rabies problem. In 2007 there were 3,302 confirmed human rabies cases, 21 times as much as in the entire period from 1990 to 1996

The source of the problem is not among dogs as pets or dogs on the streets--but among dogs raised as cattle. This is because the dogs are crowded together in cages too small to accommodate all of them and they are abusively transported from place to place. An overcrowded cage full of dogs makes viruses spread easily. When handling these dogs, one is vulnerable to rabies which spreads through bites, scratches and saliva.

It is not just rabies that cattle-raised dogs are vulnerable to. In Guangdong some 149 dogs were rescued from meat markets—where they were about to be sold for consumption. Some 100 of those rescued dogs had to be euthanized because of distemper.

In two cases of human rabies in Hanoi, the patients were infected by butchering a rabid animal. In the Philippines, two people died of rabies after eating dog meat, the Global Post reported.

According to the Animal Kingdom Foundation Inc., the average annual human death toll from rabies is from 200 to 500 in the Philippines. Rabies is the most serious public health hazard in the country.

The Philippines ranks sixth among countries with the highest incidence of rabies. Some 10,000 dogs are infected with rabies every year.

R.A. 8485 is the Animal Welfare Act of 1998. Section 6 says:

It is unlawful to neglect to provide adequate care, sustenance, shelter or to maltreat any animal; to buy animals to torture; to kill any animal for human consumption except cattle, pigs, goats, sheep, rabbits, carabaos, horses, deer and crocodiles.

The R.A. 9482 Anti-Rabies Act of 2007 section 11 says any person found guilty of trading dog meat will be fined at least five thousand pesos (P5,000) per dog and face imprisonment for one to four years.


M S said...

Tsk, tsk, first time I heard dogs raised as cattles, and their meat eaten as delicacy for the wealthy. Poor dogs.

We have lots of sickly askals here in the province. The government should provide free vasectomy (?) for the male dogs or
disable (?) the female dog's fertility.

Jennifer said...

Rabies is a scary disease. I am guessing there is no vaccination program in place for dogs in these countries?