Chinese police follow huge dog meat bust with a winter warning

25 January 2017

Police in China’s Changsha city have cracked down on dog meat trade illegality and advised locals to be vigilant as demand rises for winter.

Late last year, the Changsha authorities smashed an illegal dog meat smuggling ring. The three-month operation involved more than 80 police from 14 local departments, and culminated in the arrest of 24 individuals.

The gang had been trading in poisoned dogs and selling the potentially toxic meat to dog meat markets. The authorities seized nearly 9,000kg of dog meat, including 652 whole frozen dogs, 41 poison darts, five crossbows and eight packs of sodium cyanide.

Following the bust, police advised local dog lovers to keep their dogs safe and on leads over winter – a time when demand for the meat rises.

Animals Asia Founder and CEO, Jill Robinson MBE said:

“This is a major bust by the police and 652 dogs is a vast amount of suffering – not just the dogs themselves, caught and most likely transported and killed in horrific circumstances, but also for the many people who have lost animal family members. The pain and suffering is enormous.

“In contrast, it is admirable that the authorities are taking this issue so seriously. The bust in Changsha clearly took up a lot of police resources – as it should. This is a huge issue for China and a huge cause of social unrest.”

Animals Asia has first-hand experience of the horror of losing a beloved companion animal. Last year, terrier “Bug” (pictured below) was snatched from Animals Asia’s bear sanctuary in Chengdu around this time of year.

Jill said:

“Losing Bug was heartbreaking. To think how he may have suffered at the hands of these criminals is too much to bear. We loved him dearly so to have someone callously take him and end his life - It is absolutely right that the authorities are taking these kinds of crimes as seriously as they are. To essentially lose a family member at this time of year, when families are coming together to celebrate New Year, is especially hard.”

To help the Changsha authorities stop dog meat related crimes during winter, Animals Asia has been informing the Changsha Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of potential breaches of the law. Animals Asia has also been using its own social media networks to warn animal lovers of the heightened threat at this time of year.

Animals Asia’s Cat and Dog Welfare Director Irene Feng said:

“The 16 dog meat restaurants we suspected of illegality and reported to the FDA at the end of last year were inspected one by one, with nine confirmed as lacking the required certificates to operate. They will receive formal warnings which will make it harder for them to operate in the future. Two more restaurants had already closed down, and we hope that the nine we exposed may have to fold too, once forced to comply with the law.”

In total, 78 restaurants were either closed or forced to stop selling dog meat in 2016 thanks to Animals Asia and local groups reporting them to the authorities.

Irene continued:

“We were very pleased with the reaction of the FDA. They gratefully accepted the information we sent them and carefully inspected the restaurants. They told us they very much valued information on dog meat issues, particularly at times of peak consumption when violations are likely to be more frequent.

“It’s important that these issues become part of the national debate on dog meat and we have a role to make people aware where these dogs come from, the food safety issues and suffering involved. Beyond that we are saying to people in China – protect your dogs, keep them safe. There is so much love for dogs in China that I know between us we can end dog meat eating.”