Sakon Nakhon police last week arrested a dog-smuggling gang as they made their way to Laos and Vietnam. Around 30 animals were found dead due to suffocation as they had been packed into the back of a pick-up truck. Another 40 suffered severe fatigue and were immediately sent to animal hospitals.
Even though the World Health Organization has linked dog meat with outbreaks of several diseases including cholera and rabies in Vietnam and Indonesia, the flesh is still considered a prized delicacy in many Asian countries, especially Vietnam and Laos. Each year as many as five million dogs are slaughtered for human consumption in Vietnam alone, according to statistics from the Asia Canine Protection Alliance _ an organisation that monitors the illicit dog meat trade.
Even though dog meat may not be as popular in Thailand as in other countries, the Land of Smiles is notorious for its ability to put smiles on dog eaters' faces. As an important supplier, the dog-snatching business in Thailand is huge and highly lucrative. According to the Nakhon Phanom Animal Quarantine Centre, besides stealing animals, dog poachers may buy dogs for between 50 to 100 baht a piece and sell them for 500 to 1,000 baht each. Not many businesses can generate such a tantalising profit margin.