With COVID-19 believed to originate in a live animal market it is impossible not to utilise everyone’s new found understanding of how pandemics emerge to highlight the ongoing work needed to end the dog and cat meat trade in Southeast Asia and introduce measures which can prevent future pandemics emerging.
“Animal trade that affects national and international health, welfare and stability can no longer be ignored. Now is a critical time for countries around the world to introduce and implement policies banning the breeding, capture, sale, and slaughter of dogs and cats, to reduce the risk of future pandemics and to safeguard human and animal health and welfare.”
The cruel trade kills up to 30 million dogs and cats every year, many of these are stray animals stolen from the streets, or homes, destined to be slaughtered alongside wild animals. Long before the emergence of COVID-19, the conditions at all stages of the dog and cat meat trade have flaunted existing laws and do little to adhere to any protocols regarding disease control, sanitation and are breeding grounds for all manner of diseases, particularly zoonotic ones.
This graphic demonstrates how zoonotic diseases can emerge:
So what next? Based on scientific evidence and expert recommendations we are urging the governments across Southeast Asia to:
- Issue a comprehensive Law or Directive prohibiting all aspects of the dog and cat meat trade – this includes trafficking, sale, slaughter and consumption
- Close all markets and facilities selling and/or slaughtering live dogs and cats
- Issue statements highlighting the public health dangers of the slaughter and consumption of dogs and cats
- Enforce the existing laws, regulations and directives to once and for all drive out the dog the cat meat trade
We all have the ability to #LiveKinder and drive forwards change and prevent future suffering for animals and humans alike. An end to the dog and cat meat trade can take us a step closer to eliminating a potential source of zoonotic diseases such as rabies, cholera or future strains of COVID-19 and to #ProtectMillions of dogs and cats.