Thank you for contacting me about the dog meat trade in Southeast Asia which was debated in the House of Commons recently. Unfortunately I was unable to be present as I was overseas on Foreign Office business that day. Had I been present I would have spoken for the Government on the matter.
I’m proud that Britain is a nation of dog lovers. Like you I view the trade and consumption of dog meat as quite abhorrent, particularly where it involves cruelty to animals.
That’s why I’m relieved that while we recognise the difficulty in standing against countries where eating dog meat is culturally accepted, my ministerial colleagues and I have continued to try to influence those countries. There have often been accusations against countries in Asia of cruel treatment towards animals, and we have made clear that there can be no place for cruel or inhumane practices anywhere.
My ministerial colleague, James Duddridge, who stood in for me at the debate, stated:
“We will continue to raise these important issues in the most effective way possible, which is not always through megaphone diplomacy, although sometimes speaking loudly is needed. Where it is needed, we are prepared to speak loudly.”
In the Foreign Office and elsewhere in Government we will continue speaking on behalf of the British people on this issue. I personally raised the importance of animal welfare during my visit to Vietnam earlier this year and continue to do so in my meetings with my ministerial counterparts.
I also warmly welcome the work that non-governmental organisations do in Asian countries to protect dogs’ welfare.
An important part of the battle is to convince people to care about animal welfare and change their own behaviour. Thanks in large measure to these organisations’ activism as well as the British Government’s consistent influence, dog meat consumption is declining in several countries across the region.