The Dog Meat Trade

Dog Meat Trade Background

The eating of dog meat can be traced back to antiquity in parts of Southeast Asia. Within the Philippines it now only occurs in a very small region in the North of the country. It is generally associated with a male drinking culture in bars.

What drew IWCT to the plight of the dogs in the Philippines, was the horrific and utterly inhumane treatment of the dogs at the hands of these traders in pursuit of a quick buck. 

30 years ago, it was common practice for dogs to be rounded up or stolen, and piled into trucks, often under false flooring to try and hide them from view. The dogs would have their muzzles bound with string or tape and their legs tied behind their back. This caused them immense pain and made it hard for them to breathe. The dogs would then be transported in these conditions for up to 24 hours, piled on top of each other, desperately frightened with no idea what fate awaited them.

Many dogs would perish on these barbaric journeys and those that did survive were brutally murdered on arrival, before being skinned and sold for meat. At the height of the trade, it was believed that up to 500,000 dogs were being killed every year in the Philippines. 

Dog Meat Trade Investigators

In the 1990’s IWCT worked tirelessly with police and government agencies to enforce some laws around this barbaric behaviour. Fortunately, the slaughter of dogs for human consumption is now illegal in the Philippines, under the 1998 Animal Welfare Act. This has obviously made it much  harder for the traders to continue, but where there’s money to be made, legally or otherwise, someone is always likely to give it a try! Despite the dramatic decrease in trade, (which was further affected by amendments to the laws in 2011, introducing heavier penalties), we are still aware of a small amount of trading and as long as it still exists and even a single dog is being affected, we will continue to fight to see a complete end and justice for the dogs. 

We have a dedicated Investigator who works closely with some assets in the areas where we know dogs are taken from. The change in laws means that we are now unlikely to see traders risking the transport of live dogs over any long distance; instead we are more likely to see dogs being slaughtered in the area they are caught, before being transported as prepared meat, with traders masquerading the meat as beef or pork. Thanks to a wonderful IWCT supporter, we were able to purchase a DNA analysing machine 10 years ago. This enables us to correctly identify the meat as canine. We in turn donated this machine to the National Meat Inspection Service in the Philippines and it is now used in any prosecutions where dog meat needs to be identified. 

Prosecute Dog Meat Traders

Unlike many animal welfare groups in the Philippines, IWCT also employs a lawyer in Manila and therefore we are in a position to prosecute any traders and we are willing to see these cases through what can often be months of drawn out court appearances, which groups before us have often not had the resources to cope with. This alone can act as a deterrent to prospective dog meat traders, who now have the threat of an official agency willing and able to follow with court proceedings. 

Whilst the Philippines has made great strides in abolishing this cruel and utterly inhuman practice, it still goes on in other parts of the world. We hope that what we have achieved can be replicated in similar ways in other countries where this abhorrent practice continues to exist. 

IWCT will not tolerate any animal enduring such profound suffering at the hands of these evil traders. 

If you suspect any illegal dog meat trading activity or dogs being captured for slaughter for human consumption, you can report it by contacting us.

Help us to fight cruelty and protect all animals


Will feed one IWCT resident dog for a week


Will provide the 5 in 1 vaccine for one dog


Will enable an IWCT vet to neuter one dog


Will cover the cost of the rescue, rehabilitation and re-homing of one dog

If you suspect any illegal dog meat trading activity or dogs being captured for slaughter for human consumption, you can report it here.