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Tag: asia

Puppy ice cream? Hard to swallow for some

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Given Taiwan’s location, just off the coast of China, this new gelato treat being offered by a shop in Kaohsiung is raising some eyebrows.

The shop, known as Wilaiwan, is producing a peanut butter-flavored ice cream treat in the shape of a puppy — a shar-pei, it appears — and it is delighting some customers and disturbing others.

Taiwan is not known for its consumption of real dogs, and the legislature there declared the consumption of dog meat illegal in 2017, but it is still believed to be practiced by some, mainly immigrant workers from Vietnam.

But with dog meat being consumed in many parts of Asia, including China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Korea and Indonesia, according to Humane Society International, this, in the big picture, is a little bizarre.

The dessert item comes in peanut, chocolate or milk tea flavors. Each is made in an individual mold and they take five hours to create, with special attention to the eyes and the wrinkled features. The shop is making about 100 a day, selling smaller ones for $3.50, larger ones for $6.

Taiwan outlawed the consumption of dog and cat meat in April of 2017 when the island’s legislature passed a landmark amendment to its animal protection laws.

Before that, the Animal Protection Act only covered the slaughter and sale of dog and cat meat, but the new amendment specifically prohibited the actual consumption of dog meat.

Individuals who eat or trade dog or cat meat can now be fined between $1,640 and $8,200, and the maximum penalty for animal cruelty has doubled to to two years.

Yet, it has been reported that “dog and cat meat factories” have been set up in Taiwan to satisfy the appetites of the 200,000 Vietnamese migrant workers, some even offering delivery service.

Videos of the shop’s realistic looking dessert treat have gone semi-viral on the Internet, and with mixed reaction — some find them cute, others cringe-worthy.

Britain looks at outlawing eating dog

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Prime Minister Theresa May is looking into banning the eating of dogs in Britain after reports that the practice could be increasing.

Officials announced the prime minister is looking closely” at outlawing eating dog amid reports that the practice could spread to the UK and across Europe, due to immigration from the Far East.

The prime minister’s spokesman said that even though the commercial trade in dog meat in the UK is illegal, it’s taking a look at legislation being submitted next month in the U.S. to explicity ban killing dogs and eating their meat, The Sun reported.

Legislation calling for a similar ban is expected to be introduced in the U.S. next month.

“Britain is a nation of animal lovers and we continue to have some of the highest animal welfare standards in the world. We wish to maintain that,” the spokesman said.

Neither killing dogs to eat nor consuming their meat is illegal in Britain.

The chair of the All-party Parliamentary Dog Advisory Welfare Group, Lisa Cameron, said the development was “fantastic news … I’m sure the ban will have overwhelming cross party support.”

Dr Cameron says there has been a rise in the consumption of dog meat in the UK, but two animal welfare organisations say that they don’t have evidence for this, BBC reported.

Humane Society International says it has “never come across any evidence to suggest that dog meat is being consumed in the UK”.

The World Dog Alliance says it doesn’t know if there are people in the UK who eat dog meat – but still wants it to be made illegal.

An estimated 30 million dogs a year are slaughtered to be eaten across China, the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Korea, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia.

Foreign Office minister Sir Alan Duncan has also spoken out in favor of a total ban on eating dog meat, calling it a “disgusting habit” and adding, “We should nip it in the bud now.”

The World Dog Alliance (WDA) is set to launch a campaign in the UK for a full ban on any activity relating to the eating of dogs.

The WDA’s Kike Yuen told The Sun: “In the U.S., people who eat dog meat are mainly immigrants from Asia. With three million immigrants from East Asia in the UK, we cannot deny this situation exists here too.

“We also believe legislation against dog meat in the UK would provide us with strength to continue our work in Asia, as the UK could influence other countries to stop dog meat consumption,” Yuen added.

(Photo: Dogs headed to slaughter in China; from World Dog Alliance)

Illinois bones said to be earliest evidence of domesticated dogs in America

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Three dogs unearthed at two burial sites In Illinois decades ago are older than originally thought, and likely date to 10,000 years ago.

That makes them the earliest known domesticated canines in the Americas.

Up until now, the nearly 9,300-year-old remains of dogs eaten by humans at a Texas site were the oldest physical evidence of American canines.

But radiocarbon dating of the Illinois dogs’ bones shows they were 1,500 years older than thought, zooarchaeologist Angela Perri said at the annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

Perri, who presented the paper April 13, said the bones also represent the earliest evidence of dogs being beloved by the humans they lived with.

The previous age estimate was based on a radiocarbon analysis of burned wood found in one of the animals’ graves, Science News reported.

The buried bones also represent the oldest known burials of individual dogs in the world, indicating that some dogs at least were held in high regard by ancient people in America.

Perri, of Durham University in England, said the absence of stone tool incisions on the three ancient dogs’ skeletons indicates that they were not killed by people, but died of natural causes before being buried.

Some researchers have proposed that whoever made the first excursions into the Americas arrived on dog-powered sleds, but no ancient dog remains have been found in northwestern North America, where the earliest settlers crossing a land bridge from Asia would have entered the New World.

“As much as we want to believe that dogs initially pulled us into the New World, that may not have been the case,” Perri said.

Genetic evidence has suggested a second human migration from Asia to North America occurred around 11,500 years ago, with people trekking south through an ice-free corridor into the northern Great Plains. Those people likely brought dogs to the Americas, Perri said.

She and her colleagues studied three dogs excavated at two sites in west-central Illinois, one found in 1960, two others found in the 1970s.

(Photo: Society for American Archaeology)

Cola gets his fizz back

A dog that had his legs hacked off in Thailand is making great strides on his continuing road to recovery.

Cola’s front legs were sliced off with a sword by a neighbor in Bangkok angry over the dog chewing his shoes.

He was later adopted by John Dalley and his wife, who run the Soi Dog Foundation.

He received his first set of prosthetics about a year ago, but recently was fitted with the types used by paralympic runners.

The Soi Dog Foundation, an animal welfare group based on the resort island of Phuket, brought in a human surgeon to fit Cola with the high tech carbon fiber racing blades.

Now, Dalley reports, Cola is bounding on the beach with the rest of his pack, and he has no fear or distrust of humans despite what happened to him.

“It’s actually quite amazing how adaptable dogs are and how forgiving they are,” he said.

You can learn more about Cola’s inspirational recovery in this Reuters report.

A kind of ban may kind of be in effect at next month’s Yulin dog meat festival

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It might not be permanent, and it might not be too strictly enforced, but Chinese authorities have banned dog meat sales at this year’s upcoming Yulin dog-eating festival, according to two U.S. nonprofit organizations.

Thousands of dogs are slaughtered, cooked and served each year at the annual Lychee and Dog Meat Festival festival in Yulin to mark the summer solstice.

This year, though, amid growing protests and international opposition, the Yulin government has, at least reportedly, banned the city’s dog meat vendors from selling the meat for one week starting June 15.

That’s according to several animal welfare organizations who say they’ve received “word” — if not documentation — of the ban.

The 10-day festival is slated to begin on June 21.

The Duo Duo Animal Welfare Project and Humane Society International (HSI), both based in the U.S., said in a joint statement that they’d confirmed the ban through unidentified local contacts.

“Even if this is a temporary ban, we hope this will have a domino effect, leading to the collapse of the dog meat trade,” Andrea Gung, executive director of the Duo Duo Animal Welfare Project, said in the statement.

The organizations attributed the change to Yulin’s new Communist Party secretary, Mo Gongming, who reportedly wants to improve Yulin’s national and international image.

The ban will carry penalties, with fines of up to $14,500 and jail time for violators.

Yulin officials are not verifying the report, but they say they’ve never officially sanctioned the festival in the first place, and some apparently decline to acknowledge it exists.

“There’s never been a dog meat festival in Yulin,” the Los Angeles Times quoted a municipal official as saying this week.

While some media outlets are reporting the festival has been cancelled, that doesn’t appear to be the case, National Geographic reports.

“The Yulin dog meat festival is not over just yet,” Peter Li, a China policy specialist at Humane Society International, said in a statement. “But if this news is true as we hope, it is a really big nail in the coffin for a gruesome event that has come to symbolize China’s crime-fueled dog meat trade.”

People in parts of China, as well as other Asian countries, have prized dog meat for centuries, though its consumption has been on the decline as pets become more popular, especially among younger people. Some older residents still consider it a delicacy with health benefits.

The dog meat festival, on the other hand, is relatively new, having started in 2010 and quickly become an object of international scorn.

The festival’s dog meat sales have dropped each year since 2014, according to Li. He expects, even with the ban, such sales will be going on during the festival.

“It won’t be public resistance … they’ll probably do it secretly,” he said. “They’ll probably sell it at night, or they’ll supply dog meat to restaurants. They just won’t sell it at the market.”

While he hadn’t seen anything documenting the ban, the organization heard about it from local dog meat traders, as well as three visitors to a local market, he said.

Most Chinese people would like to see an end to the festival, according to a survey cited by China’s official New China News Agency.

“It is embarrassing to us that the world wrongly believes that the brutally cruel Yulin festival is part of Chinese culture,” Qin Xiaona, director of the Capital Animal Welfare Association charity, a Chinese animal welfare group, told the agency. “It isn’t.”

(For more stories about the dog meat trade, click here.)

(Photo: A vendor waits for buyers at a market in Yulin during last year’s festival; by Wu Hong/ EPA, via NBC)

Eating dog meat banned in Taiwan

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In a landmark piece of legislation, Taiwan has outlawed the consumption of dog and cat meat.

The island’s legislature yesterday passed an amendment to its animal protection laws, imposing longer prison sentences and stiffer fines for harming animals, and explicitly banning the slaughter, sale and consumption of dogs.

The island’s official Central News Agency (CNA) said the new law reflects the transition of Taiwan “from a society in which dog meat was regularly consumed” to one where “many people treat pet cats and dogs as valued members of their families.”

The amendment also bans “walking” pets on leashes pulled by cars and motorcycles.

The amendment comes after a series of animal abuse cases, and a strong push by animal lovers and the animal welfare movement.

Last year, a group of military personnel beat and strangled a dog and tossed its body into the ocean, an assault that was captured on video.

The amended act calls for fines between $1,640 to $8,200 for people who eat or sell dog meat, and up to $65,000 for deliberately harming an animal.

Violators of the new law may also see their names, photos and crimes publicized, Taiwan’s Central News Agency said.

Previously, the Animal Protection Act, passed in 2001, only covered the slaughter and sale of dog and cat meat, and not individual consumption.

The new law makes Taiwan the first Asian state to impose a full ban on both the marketing of dog meat and its consumption.

The amendment’s sponsor, Kuomintang Legislator Wang Yu-min, said that while some localities already had measures banning dog and cat meat consumption, national legislation was needed, according to the China Post.

China has long been criticized for its annual dog meat festival in Yulin, where as many as 10,000 dogs are slaughtered and served as meals.

Opposition to the consumption of dog is growing in China, and in South Korea, where some are pushing the government to impose restrictions on the dog meat trade before the 2018 Winter Olympics in Seoul.

LA supervisors condemn dog meat trade

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Los Angeles County Supervisors voted unanimously yesterday to call on the Chinese and South Korean governments to stop slaughtering canines for human consumption.

With the annual Yulin dog meat festival approaching, the supervisors added their voice to the growing international chorus of opposition to the 10-day celebration of dog meat in the Guangxi region of China and to the dog meat trade in general.

“Los Angeles County is home to millions of people who care deeply about preventing animal abuse and suffering,” Supervisor Hilda Solis wrote in her motion. “On behalf of our residents, I ask the Board of Supervisors to join me in condemning the Yulin dog meat festival, and the rampant abuse and torture of dogs and cats for human consumption in both China and South Korea.”

The festival, which has faced growing protests, takes place in June.

The resolution is similar to one passed last year by the Berkeley City Council.

In January, a resolution was introduced at the national level by Florida Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL) that asks the U.S. government to condemn the festival.

“My legislation condemns the festival and calls on the Government of the People’s Republic of China to impose a ban on the killing and eating of dogs as part of Yulin’s festival, enact anti-animal cruelty laws banning the dog meat trade, and enforce China’s food safety laws regulating the processing and sale of animal products,” Hastings said.

An estimated 10,000 dogs are skinned alive during the 10-day Yulin festival, then butchered and eaten as a way to mark the summer solstice. Some of the animals are pets that have been lost or stolen.

An estimated 2 million dogs are slaughtered and eaten each year in South Korea.

“Anything you can do to help us fight this … most people don’t know about it,” Valarie Ianniello, executive director for the Sherman Oaks-based Animal Hope & Wellness Foundation, told the supervisors. The organization is one of several that work to raise awareness about and help rescue dogs from farms and festivals in China, Cambodia and South Korea.

“It’s important for everyone to get involved in the anti-animal abuse and torture movement,” Solis said in an e-mailed statement Monday. “This isn’t about a cultural difference. This is about pets being stolen and slaughtered in an inhumane way.”

(Photo: Reuters)