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Authorities act against illicit meat trade

China Daily | Updated: 2017-08-15 08:38

Police raided a suspected illegal dog meat distribution network in northern Beijing over the weekend.

Thirty-four dogs of various breeds were confiscated, including one with an identification chip. Yangfang Township police worked with local animal welfare groups to rescue the animals and took them to a municipal animal shelter.

According to surveys and media reports over the past two years, the dog and cat meat trade has developed into a well-segmented industry that involves stealing, collecting, shipping, slaughtering and selling of the final products such as meat and fur.

As public concerns have grown over the unquarantined animal products and their potential threat to health, Chinese authorities have taken the battle nationwide.

Earlier this month, police closed down a holding site for stolen dogs in Chengdu, Sichuan province. More than 30 dogs were handed over to the Qiming Animal Protection Center-a local charity-where they were reunited with their owners or adopted.

The charity's executives said the site was well-known as a depository for stolen pets before operators killed the animals and sold the meat.

In July, a truckload of 200 cats and more than 100 dogs was intercepted by the police in Zhuzhou, Hunan province. The driver was fined 2,000 yuan ($300).

On Aug 7, 24 suspected dog thieves were prosecuted in Anhui province for theft, hiding or concealing proceeds and producing and selling toxic or hazardous food, the prosecutor's statement said.

Under Chinese law, anyone who produces and sells toxic or hazardous food can face the death penalty. Stealing pets and working animals, as well as unlicensed keeping of dogs of unknown origins, are serious crimes.

Unlawful practices involved in the meat trade, such as trading, transporting, butchering unquarantined animals and processing and selling the meat, are being tackled by various law enforcement departments.

From food safety to social stability, every link in the illegal meat trade chain breaks the law, said An Xiang, co-founder of Beijing Dexiang Law Firm.

In 2015, a new Food Safety Law came into effect, raising standards for ensuring public health and safety.

Consuming illegal dog and cat meat could bring severe health problems, said Liu Lang of the Ministry of Agriculture and the Association of Veterinarians of China.

In June, the Ministry of Agriculture tightened quarantine provisions regarding dogs and cats, as well as certifications, to combat the undocumented transportation of unquarantined animals.

The ministry said it will improve quarantines in response to a national legislator's suggestion about bringing an end to this kind of meat trade.


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