Thailand's Illegal Dog Meat Trade
Project info


Thousands of miles of porous borders, Thailand is continuously fighting illicit smuggling. The border with Laos is over 1700km long and over half of that is the natural boundary of the River Mekong. Most know about the fight against the drug or endangered wildlife. But few know that it is fighting another battle against a different type of animal trade - that of domesticated dogs.

Currently NGO's, activists, local officials and the Thai Mekong River Navy are fighting a continuous battle against an illegal dog meat trade. Stolen and bought dogs are collected in remote areas of Northeast Thailand before being illegally shipped across the Mekong in the middle of the night, to Laos where they make their way, sometimes thousands at a time, up to the dog slaughter houses of Northern Vietnam.

Every year an estimated 200,000 dogs are illegally smuggled across the River Mekong. Stuffed in to tiny crude metal cages they are then taken up to the slaughter houses and dog meat restaurants of Hanoi, Vietnam's capital. A dog bought in Thailand for as little as US$7 can then be sold for up to US$100 in Vietnam making it a very profitable trade for the mafia gangs that control it.

Vietnam has a long tradition of eating dog meat which it claims helps male virility and warms the body in the cold winter months. Not having the same close connection to dogs as other countries they compare it as equal to the killing of pigs and cows. However, activists and NGO's argue that whilst their traditions should be respected, dogs are highly intelligent animals and the horrific and cruel way in which the dogs are killed cause terrible trauma and needs to change.

Coupled with the killing method, the dogs supplied through the illegal smuggling from Thailand are crammed in to tiny cages and undergo an horrendous journey that many don't survive.