The World Small Animal Veterinary Association has strongly expressed its opposition to the dog and cat meat trade in a new position statement.
Prepared by members of its Animal Wellness and Welfare Committee (AWWC), the Position Statement recognises cultural variance on this issue but voices strong concerns about the welfare of dogs and cats at all stages of the meat trade. It also highlights mounting qualitative and quantitative evidence documenting the public health risks the trade poses in terms of compromising regional rabies control efforts and increasing the risk of disease transmission.
The statement concludes by calling for the rigorous enforcement of existing laws, and supports new controls and regulations where current legislation does not exist, aimed at banning what is typically an inhumane and dangerous practice.
“WSAVA’s member associations are vital in highlighting animal welfare issues in their region,” AWWC co-chair Dr Shane Ryan said.
“They work with the appropriate government or regulatory bodies to resolve gaps or shortcomings in any system that has detrimental outcomes on animal welfare.
“We understand there are cultural sensitivities around this issue but, as an association focused on advancing standards of companion animal health and welfare, it is important for us to make a very clear statement of our position on the dog and cat meat trade,” Dr Ryan said.
The AWWC is developing the world’s first Global Welfare Guidelines for Companion Animal Practitioners, due to be launched at the WSAVA World Congress in Singapore in 2018. The guidelines will provide animal welfare advice and direction for veterinarians through all stages of the companion animal-veterinary interaction. WSAVA will promote awareness of the guidelines and encourage their adoption as widely as possible.