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Group Works to Stop Dog and Cat Meat Trade in CA

PHOTO: A California animal-rights group aims to raise awareness of cruelty involved in the dog meat trade in the United States and abroad. Photo courtesy: No To Dog Meat.
PHOTO: A California animal-rights group aims to raise awareness of cruelty involved in the dog meat trade in the United States and abroad. Photo courtesy: No To Dog Meat.
February 27, 2015

While the thought of eating the family dog or cat may sound repulsive to most Americans, in some cultures it is considered quite normal. One California group is trying to change that perception.

Fia Perera, who co-founded the Los Angeles-based U.S. branch of the animal advocacy group No To Dog Meat, said an underground dog and cat meat trade exists in U.S. cities - including Los Angeles and San Bernardino.

Some cultures believe the animals' meat tastes better only after the animal has been frightened, she said.

"The level of torture in which these animals go through is one of the most horrific things I've ever seen," she said. "Being plunged into vats of boiling water, being skinned alive, tortured in front of other animals."

In some cases, Perera said, the dogs and cats are stolen pets.

No To Dog Meat is working on raising awareness of the torture often found in the underground meat trade and to close pet-consumption loopholes that exist in laws. The consumption of cat or dog meat is legal in 44 U.S. states - but specific details of the laws vary from state to state. In California, it is a misdemeanor to consume the carcass of an animal that was kept as a pet.

Asking people to give up eating what is acceptable to them is not without controversy, and Perera said while her group respects other cultures' traditions, "torturing a dog or a cat for human consumption is not tradition. It's just blatant torture, and there's no place in a civilized, evolved society."

An online petition asks Gov. Jerry Brown to tell "sister state" Canton, China, to stop the cat- and dog-meat trade. Perera said the effort needs to be global. Eleven regions around the world where dog meat is eaten include Taiwan, Mexico, Vietnam, Switzerland, the Arctic and Antarctic, China, Indonesia, Korea, the Philippines and Polynesia.

Monique Coppola, Public News Service - CA