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Thursday, March 11, 1999 Published at 08:04 GMT


Dogs 'blow-torched' alive

Puppies are sold in a street market

An international animal rights organisation says some dogs in Asia are blow-torched alive, electrocuted and sold for their meat.

Daniel Boettcher reports on South-East Asia's 'throw-away pet culture'
The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) has released a report documenting the alleged abuse to coincide with the opening in England of Crufts, one of the world's biggest dog shows.

It is appealing to breeders to stop the export of pedigree dogs to several countries in south and east Asia, where they are often held in poor conditions, and even sold for their meat.

The survey chronicles widespread abuse - from dogs being blow-torched alive in South Korean markets to Thai dog pounds poisoning up to 200 animals a day with strychnine.

[ image: The report comes on day one of Crufts 99]
The report comes on day one of Crufts 99
WSPA field teams carried out surveys in Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, Thailand, Hong Kong and China which they said "revealed the appalling fate of thousands of pedigree dogs".

"They observed dogs suffering from disease and crowded conditions in pet shops, cramped in factory-like breeding centres, sold to be eaten at meat markets, abandoned in rubbish tips and destroyed by cruel methods such as drowning and electrocution," the WSPA said.

A Taiwanese dealer had conceded that half his animals died before they could be sold.

In South Korea, where the trade in pet meat was thriving, dogs were worth more dead than alive.

[ image: Some dogs are deliberately drowned, the WPSA says]
Some dogs are deliberately drowned, the WPSA says
The report goes on: "Animals are usually hung until dead. Afterwards most dogs are skinned and their bodies browned using a blow torch.

"Video evidence has shown that this can often take place while animals are still alive."

Many pedigree dogs like rough collies, English pointers, German shepherds, English mastiffs and bloodhounds, were also being sold for their meat, the survey found.

No protection

Jonathan Owen from the WSPA said a number of countries had no animal cruelty laws.

Trevor Wheeler of WSPA says dogs are being eaten in Asia as aphrodisiac and to stop perspiration
"Once these animals have been abandoned or their owners are tired of them, they really don't have any form of protection.

"They're at the mercy then of these meat traders or dealers, or the people who are breeding dogs to sell on to laboratories or other forms of suffering."

He explained that Crufts offered an opportunity to spead the message internationally.

"Dog breeders from most of the countries around the world come to Crufts," he said.

"It's an excellent way of warning those breeders of the potential risks of exporting their dogs to south east Asia."

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