Thank you for contacting me about the dog meat trade in East and Southeast Asia. In addition to the debate occurring today (12 September 2016) in Westminster Hall, this topic was also debated in the House of Commons last year, and I have followed the issue with interest.
I’m proud that Britain is a nation of dog lovers, and I am a dog owner myself. Like you I view the trade and consumption of dog meat as quite abhorrent, particularly where it involves cruelty to animals.
That’s why I’m relieved that while the Government recognises the difficulty in standing against countries where eating dog meat is culturally accepted, it has continued to try to influence those countries. There have often been accusations against countries in Asia of cruel treatment towards animals, and the Government has made clear that there can be no place for cruel or inhumane practices anywhere.
The then-Foreign Office Minister, James Duddridge MP, vowed during the debate,
“We will continue to raise these important issues in the most effective way possible, which is not always through megaphone diplomacy, although sometimes speaking loudly is needed. Where it is needed, we are prepared to speak loudly.”
I am glad to know that the Government is speaking on behalf of the British people on this issue and am pleased to offer my public support for those efforts.
I also warmly welcome the work that non-governmental organisations such as Animal Asia Foundation, the Humane Society International, the International Fund for Animal Welfare and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals do in Asian countries to protect dogs’ welfare.
An important part of the battle is to convince people to care about animal welfare and change their own behaviour. Thanks in large measure to these organisations’ activism as well as the British Government’s consistent influence, dog meat consumption is declining in several countries across the region. I believe we can expect this trend to continue.
Thank you again for taking the time to get in touch.