When you read The Dog and Cat Meat Trade, a recent investigative book about the lives of dogs and cats in Thailand, you find that much of the food that is caught is brought to restaurants, markets and even to homes. The story is heartbreaking and shocking. The author, Matt Pearson, traveled the country putting his nose to the grindstone uncovering the truth about how far some people will go to feed their dogs and cats. The report is shocking, stomach-churning and truly epic in its scope.
In Bangkok, one market sells live dogs alive. The animals are dead and still stuffed into the sides of boxes. The owner tells the story of how she found the dead dogs and cats – alive but lifeless – on the side of the road. The next thing the seller knew, she had to pay two hundred dollars for the dogs and another hundred for the dead cat. She paid no mind to the fact that it was probably illegal to kill a living creature and eat its flesh.
An industrial area in Phuket, the dog industry is booming. The dog meat trade is an open secret in this pet shop. Customers walk in with plastic bags over their faces, shaking out their money to “buy one, get one free.”
In another pet shop in Phuket, customers go in with plastic bags over their faces and shaking, and a counter clerk scoopes out their dead friends. He has a plastic bag and a spoon. “Don’t you think it’s disgusting?” he asks. “I don’t think so,” says the customer.
It’s not just the dog and cat meat markets that are dirty, it’s everywhere. Pet markets, animal feed supplies stores, restaurants. In Phuket, these pet shops routinely sell dead cats and dogs, sometimes alive, sometimes with their claws still sticking out. Customers pay anywhere from two dollars on up.
Just because they’re dead doesn’t mean the dog or cat meat is bad for you. Animals get sick and die. But the industry doesn’t care; it just wants to make as much money as possible. The dog meat and cat meat trade have the same heart as the people who sell the animals: it’s a quick way to make some money.
The dog meat trade has become big news recently. A couple of well-known celebrities have come out against the dog meat trade, and there’s a growing movement, both online and offline, to shut it down. If these efforts succeed, it could spell the end of the dog meat trade in Phuket, a devastating blow to the tourists and people who come every year to visit.
Phuket is a tourist spot that everyone goes to. For many people, visiting Phuket means they come back to Phuket year after year. And if they’re paying good money for a couple of dog’s carcasses or a few dead cats, they’ll be unhappy to see them go. So help the world by helping the animals.