An initiative called the World Dog Alliance (WDA) wants to reach an international agreement to ban the consumption of dog and cat meat. According to the organization, around 30 million dogs are slaughtered and eaten in Asia every year. 70 percent of them are stolen pets, says Him Lo, director of legal affairs at WDA, the German Press Agency in Berlin.
"The thieves drive to more rural areas in big vans - and if there's a guard dog outside, for example, they just take it with them," says Lo. In a single truck there are sometimes 300 to 400 stolen dogs.
Dog meat is said to have medicinal properties
The reason for this is that dog meat is considered a special food in most Asian countries: "They believe that it has medicinal properties, such as improved blood circulation or healing certain diseases," says Lo. This is superstition, there is no scientific evidence for it.
An international agreement is difficult to get through because most countries do not want to deal with it - according to the motto: "In our country there is no such problem," explains Lo. "It's very sad that animal welfare is always at the bottom of the priority list," says Kike Yuen, project manager at the WDA.
Added to this is the complicity of political relations between the countries. "Some politicians don't want to upset Asian countries," says Yuen.
First successes of the WDA
Nevertheless, the organization founded in 2014 by entrepreneur Genlin in Hong Kong claims success. Eating dog and cat meat has been banned in Taiwan since 2017. This has been the case in the USA since 2018 and in the Chinese city of Shenzhen since 2020.
"Dogs and cats are considered not just animals but family members around the world, even in Asian countries," says Lo. "In addition, dogs do an enormous amount for our society, there are sniffer dogs, cancer search dogs, guide dogs, police dogs, to name just a few."
The biggest supporter of the organization is the United States. "If the German government is willing to cooperate with the US government to bring about an international agreement, that would really be our top priority," says Lo. Her hope is that more and more countries will follow suit and that the goal of an international agreement will be achieved.