7 April 2015 marks World Health Day when delegates of the World Organisation for Animal Health meet in Rungis Paris to discuss the importance of Food Safety.
Their event focuses on the importance of #FoodSafety, outlining how globalisation and the international reach of the food safety chain offers great opportunities -- and THREATS -- for human health.
As an advocate for the dogs and cats in the meat trade my specific concern is the unsanitary conditions in which these animals are captured, transported and butchered and the consequential effects on human health.
These concerns are shared by activists worldwide who only yesterday made a bold stand in Beijing outside government buildings demanding animal protection laws. Currently China has no protection laws for dogs and cats.
You only have to look at photos of the recent rescues in China (taking place right now) where pets and stray dogs are rounded up (for food, fur and leather) to see that the heinous conditions and barbaric treatment that they are subjected to. It is a clear violation of every law set down in the World Organisation For Animal Health's Code for Terrestrial Health.
How can live markets such as Indonesia's Tomohon Market in North Sulawesi be sanitary where dogs are roasted alive or flash fried as satay in close proximity of other live animals and can we be sure that cats and puppies in South Korea being plunged into boiling water to make soups and elixirs remove all toxins & traces of disease?
Our charity has persistently maintained its stance that there is a proven causal link between lack of food safety and disease. Dog and cat meat enters food outlets with no real knowledge of the origin and source.
There are increasing reports of animals captured using poisoned darts and other reports suggesting high antibiotic doses are used in Korean Dog farms to prevent disease and now we hear that the rabies vaccines used on dogs can be fatal to humans who consume them too soon after the injections are administered.
I wonder if the World Organisation for Animal Health and its 180 members will pay heed to how these dogs are raised (and stolen from the streets and back yards!) transported and then slaughtered in heinous conditions with little or no refridgeration in close proximity to live dogs and formally acknowledge that this poses serious health risks and complete disregard for human health.
To those of you reading this article saying what has this to do with us in Europe or the States, you only have to think back to the horsemeat scandals & mystery meat in british curriesGlobalisation has meant greater access to travel and import new and 'exotic foods'- Dried Dog meat is being added to many condiments in South Korea eg.most tourists sampling local packet noodles would eat the dog meat ones without any realisation as there are no dog pictures on the packets!
Sars- Avian flu is a real concern - dogs and cats as scavengers will eat fallen birds and then it can enter the human food chain as they are then consumed by humans. The same concerns apply to Ebola, notoriously carried by bats, which in turn are eaten by dogs and cats. You only have to touch a dirty door handle to catch a cold. So the unnecessary consumption of contaminated dog and cat meat could result in much worse illnesses which can prove fatal.
These experts (amongst others) have been expressing concern about consumption of dog meat recently - Zamboanga City vet Mario Arriola; Prof Emmanuel E Ekanem Department of Paediatrics University of Calabar; Prof. Dr. Nguyen Van De, former Chairman of the Department of Parasitology, Hanoi Medical University. There is concern about the following diseases, viruses and parasites entering the human food chain via the cat and dog meat trade: Rabies, Avian Influenza, Ebola, Cholera, Parasitic Worms,Trichinellosis and Canine Distemper.
We all know the stress, fear and pain when animals are being slaughtered or waiting to be slaughtered results in several disease processes in humans who eat the meat with the most notable being: cardiac problems, impotency and general fatigue. Dog meat is sold fraudulently and marketed by false advertising as a health food that stimulates circulation - there is no medical evidence to suggest any truth in this idea. This is economics over ethics pure and simple.
Activists in Dog and Cat eating countries are crying out for help to make laws against the trade where criminals and corrupt Government officials apply get rich quick schemes to dupe people into thinking it is a respectable health-promoting Industry.
My personal message on World Health Day is for experts addressing food safety to declare Dog and cat flesh a UNFIT for human consumption.