Dame Judi Dench, Ricky Gervais Campaign Against Dog Meat Trade

Actors speak out against Thailand’s illegal dog meat trade.

By Cari Jorgensen | Posted: October 28, 2014, 11 a.m. PST

I could not watch it, at least not very much of it. I have never been one to handle animal abuse very well. Even those commercials that play that Sarah McLachlan song, "Angel,” over images of abused pets make me cry and I have to turn them off. So if you’re anything like me, prepare yourself for the video before watching it.

Warning: This video is extremely distressing. View with caution.

The video is for the Soi Dog Foundation, a charity organization based out of Phuket, Thailand who is trying to stop the dog meat trade in that country. In the video, Ricky Gervais, Dame Judi Dench and actors from Downton Abbey speak out. Their voices are heard over immensely disturbing images of filthy cages crammed with dogs. They’re trapped there, crying, starving until days later when they are killed.

Dench says in the video, "I didn’t know that these innocent creatures are crammed into cages so brutally that their bones almost break, so tightly that they can’t move, and that they’re trapped like this for the smuggled journey, which can take days.”

Before I go into further detail, I just want to remind you of how vile this is. It is hard to watch and hard to read about…and hard for me to write about. But nothing is as difficult as what these poor, defenseless dogs are put through. They are often stolen pets, Soi Dog concedes. The dogs are beaten and skinned and boiled all while still alive. The belief, it is said, is that the adrenaline the dogs experience from the pain of these violent events somehow tenderizes their meat.

The footage shows a dog’s death, as well as dogs thrown into cages and put on lorries to be transported. I don’t know how long the journey is, but it’s long enough that some dogs don’t survive it. They are suffocated, crushed or die of thirst or starvation. Their fate is much worse if they survive the journey.

Thankfully, many dogs have been rescued. But more needs to be done. The video is in support of a petition that asks the Thai Government to put an end to the dog meat trade. As of this morning, over 489,000 people had signed it. I am one of them.

The petition, a letter addressed to Thailand Prime Minister General Prayuth Chan-ocha, demands the trade be stopped, emphasizes the dangers of eating dog meat and requests restaurants that serve it to be stopped, that products made of dog skin be banned and that there is more funding for rescue groups.

Help make the practice illegal by signing the petition. Vice President of Soi Dog Foundation, John Dalley, said, according to Independent, "Thai people do not consider dogs or cats as food. Some ethnic groups and foreign nationals working in Thailand do, but this is no excuse not to make the practice illegal in a country where the vast majority of its citizens find dog meat consumption abhorrent. By not specifically making the practice illegal it provides a huge loop hole for the traders to continue stealing and trading dogs.”

I’m sure none of us want that.

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Judy Kashi   morganville, New Jersey

10/29/2014 1:44:18 PM

Sadly 5 million dogs are slaughtered in Vietnam every year for their meat and fur. This is the worst country when it comes to animal cruelty. I hope Hollywood actors voice their opinions regarding this terrible trade. It's sickening and heartbreaking. Even cavemen knew dogs were man's best friend and didn't eat them.

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