At 5am on Sunday 21st October the IWCT Philippines Investigation team, together with local police in Lemery, Batangas, intercepted a van loaded with slaughtered dogs, as it was heading out of the area to make it’s long journey north to Baguio.
Baguio is one of the only areas in the Philippines that still practises the illegal eating of dog meat. IWCT investigators believe that the main source of dog meat being supplied to Baguio is from an area south of Manila, where traders are thought to be operating. Since the eating of dog meat was made illegal the traders have become more covert in their activity and no longer transport live dogs, instead opting to slaughter the dogs in the south, transporting the dogs as meat to be sold to the restaurants and markets in Baguio.
After months of surveillance work the IWCT investigation team identified what they believed to be a group supplying dog meat to the north and on Saturday our sources led us to a tip off about a cargo of dog meat that was due to be transported from the area. Deciding that the source was reliable, our investigator informed the local police to request assistance in apprehending the suspected traders.
All we knew was the route the traders were planning to take and so on Saturday evening the IWCT team, together with the police, set up a check point and waited for the traders to pass. Just after 5am on Sunday morning the suspected Toyota van came into sight and when the police flagged it down, the team made the horrifying discovery of 64 slaughtered dogs hidden in the back. The 3 men in the van were handcuffed and arrested and taken to the local police station; we believe that one of the men arrested is a key player in running the trade in the Batangas area, but all 3 will now remain in police custody to await their hearing.
These poor helpless dogs had been viciously murdered, then blow torched to remove their fur, before being thrown into the back of a van, to be taken north and sold to restaurants in Baguio.
Whilst absolutely heartbreaking and sickening for the team, having to see just how cruel man can be, they focused their efforts on ensuring that all the proper process was followed; with the traders now arrested, IWCT will fully fund the case and act as the complainant in prosecuting the men with violating the Animal Welfare Act, Anti Rabies Laws, as well as the National Meat Code and Food Safety Laws and we will push for as severe penalties as possible.
The utter spite and callousness associated with these acts is completely incomprehensible but IWCT must carry on working to shut down this horrific practice, preventing the traders from capturing and killing the dogs, cutting off the supply at its source, with the ultimate goal being a complete end to the dog meat trade in the Philippines.