SAHABAT Alam Malaysia (SAM) is disheartened to learn that the culture of eating dogs and cats has found its way to Malaysia. Recently, it was reported on a portal that some foreigners in Selangor and Johor Baru were allegedly killing dogs and cats for human consumption.
A video footage of workers from a steel manufacturing company torturing and killing a dog went viral recently. It was grotesque. The company has apologised following criticisms from social media users.
Although the company said action taken over the incident would be posted on its Facebook page, SAM has yet to receive any word from it in writing.
It is sad to know that the Animal Welfare Act 2015 (Act 772) does not prohibit killing of animals, including dogs and cats, for human consumption.
However, eating dog and cat meat must never be excused as a cultural prerogative. Slicing limbs off living animals and slaughtering them in a manner that is nightmarish in its brutality is not culture — it is barbarism — and that is the crux of the issue. Tradition is no excuse for cruelty.
There is no explicit recognition of dog and cat meat as legitimate food, nor is there a clear ban on the sale or slaughter of these animals.
The method an animal is killed under such circumstances would be subject to the provisions of the animal welfare legislation. If such a killing caused the animal pain or caused the animal not to die instantly, it would likely constitute an offence under the general cruelty provisions of the legislation.
SAM would like to question the legality of eating these animals. Which authorities are responsible for granting permits to foreigners to sell dog and cat meat here? Is there any certification from the Health Department to verify that these meats are safe for consumption? Which government agencies will be held accountable should there be an outbreak of disease from virus contamination of these meats?
The government does not regulate dogs and cats the way it does other livestock, so their meat does not fall under the food hygiene or meat sanitation laws and is not subject to controls at the source, nor is it tested for human consumption.
SAM believes the consumption of dog and cat meat should be prohibited in statute. Dogs and cats hold a specific place in Malaysian society as companion animals and eating their meat is offensive.
Due to the many animal welfare and public health concerns, SAM strongly discourages the consumption of and trade in dog and cat meat.
SAM encourages rigorous enforcement of laws and supports new controls and regulations where current legislation does not exist, aimed at banning the inhumane and vile practice by the perpetrators of this trade.
S.M. MOHD IDRIS President, Sahabat Alam Malaysia