The reality of the illegal dog meat trade is something that most dog-lovers find very difficult to stomach. We see our dogs as beloved and trusted companions and the idea that any person could bring themselves to torture or kill a pup is absolutely abhorrent. In the wake of the Yulin Dog Meat Festival in China and the beginning of Bok-Nal in South Korea, many organizations and individuals have stepped up to raise awareness for the practice of dog meat eating and help to either make it illegal or hinder the trade as much as possible.
Unfortunately, as a recent undercover investigation from Humane Society International (HSI) shows, just because dog meat is banned in certain places doesn’t always mean that the trade no longer exists.
Nagaland, India is located in the north-eastern region of the country and shares a border with Myanmar. Although the dog meat trade is illegal in India, HSI discovered that there is a thriving illicit trade in this area. Investigators witnessed horrific images of dogs packed into sacks, sitting blatantly in defiance of the law at local markets in Kohima and Dimapur. Many of the dogs either had their mouths stitched closed or were muzzled with tight ropes. To make matters even more heartbreaking, HSI explains, “During transport and display in the markets, they are denied movement, food or water, before finally being clubbed to death.”
These dogs end their short and terrifying lives in “death pits” where they are beaten to death in front of other dogs. According to investigators, most dogs were beaten several times before dying.
HSI/India’s managing director, N. G Jayasimha, who witnessed the killing, said in a press release, “ I see animal suffering every day as part of my job at Humane Society International/India, but the brutal dog trade of Nagaland is some of the worst inhumanity to animals I have ever witnessed, and it still haunts me. The underground pit in Kohima where we filmed was like a nightmare … It was clear to me that many of the dogs were stolen pets still wearing their collars, but whether street or pet dogs, none of these animals should ever have to endure such cruelty.”
An estimated 30,000 dogs, a combination of stray and pets, will be subjected to this horrible experience a year. While this is devastating to learn, there is something we can all do. HSI has launched a campaign to get India’s government and the Chief Minister of Nagaland to crack down on this illegal trade. They have also put out an online petition calling the government to act swiftly.
With our collective efforts to raise awareness and put pressure on the Nagaland government, we can help see justice for all of the dogs who have already lost their lives, and hopefully ensure that no more are subjected to such horrific abuse.
All image source: Alokparna Sengupta/Humane Society International