Thailand is known as a tourist’s paradise, but what many don’t know is that hundreds of thousands of dogs are abducted each year and sent to neighbouring countries where they end up as meat on the dinner table.
It’s estimated that each year 30 million dogs are slaughtered for their skin and meat in Asia annually. In Thailand, 100,000 canines are illegally trafficked where they endure torture before being slaughtered, according to the Soi Dog Foundation, a Thai volunteer organization dedicated to saving canines in peril.
Recently, the group Soi Dog intercepted dozens of dogs crammed into a truck while they were en route to their awful fate. Now eight of those dogs are on their way to Vancouver where they’ll get a second chance at life.
A Metro Vancouver- based organization, Leading Each Animal Safely Home, or LEASH, is working in conjunction with Soi Dog to help rehabilitate the dogs before they settle in their new home.
Ali Siemens, a team member at LEASH, says five of the eight dogs will arrive at Vancouver International Airport on April 23. The other three are destined to arrive on a later date, which is yet to be determined. They will be met by their foster families at the airport and will stay with them until they are ready to be adopted.
ABOVE: Celebrities including Ricky Gervais and Judi Dench have appeared in a campaign video by the Soi Dog Foundation to raise awareness of the horrific trade. Warning: Some viewers may find this video disturbing.
LEASH will work with the foster homes to assist in the transition process and determine what kind of home will best suit their needs. An orientation is taking place Sunday night with the foster families and a certified dog trainer.
Dogs found severely abused
“These dogs are being either stolen or gathered from the streets,” says Siemens.
“They are being mistreated in every sense of the word,” she adds.
The dogs are crammed into cages, so tightly that their bones often crack and many suffocate before they reach the meat factory. Those that do survive, with no water for days, are then brutally tortured before they’re slaughtered.
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“Certain practices like beating these dogs because they believe the actual quality of the meat is different and more appealing,” says Siemens.
LEASH’s Cassi MacDonald says they were approached by Soi Dog in mid- February and met one of their volunteers face-to-face in Vancouver before forming a partnership.
Dog Meat Industry
The practice of slaughtering dogs for meat is illegal in Thailand, but it’s still permitted in South Korea. Humane Society International (HSI), an international animal protection organization, is trying to end the practice. They’re working with dog meat farmers to help them transition into a humane way of making a living.
Farmers must sign a contract agreeing never to be involved in the canine meat business again. In exchange, HSI agrees to help them transition into traditional crop farming. In September 2015, the organization rescued over 100 puppies from a dog meat farm in Chungcheongnam-do, South Korea.
ABOVE: Happy ending for puppies rescued from South Korea dog meat trade.
“Emotions are all high right now,” says MacDonald. “Everyone is getting excited for them to touch down here in Vancouver.”
After the first eight dogs are rehomed, LEASH will take more in from Soi Dog.
“It is important for us to find homes for displaced dogs wherever they come from. There are dogs that need love here and everywhere else in the world,” says Siemens.
Soi Dog Foundation Successful Rescue Story
Just last week, the Soi Dog Foundation raided a local butcher shop in Thailand.
“We found two partly butchered dogs and rescued two puppies who were about to be killed,” says John Dalley with the non-profit organization.
There are many rescues that members of the Soi Dog foundation will never forget, but there is one success story that particularly sticks out in their minds.
One dog named ‘Miracle’, as seen in the before and after photos below, was rescued as he was being transported to Vietnam to meet his horrific end. Now Miracle is an award winning dog, providing therapy and assistance to his owner’s disabled son.