ITD Update 08/07/05
- "It's Their Destiny"
News items on Asian animal abuse
8th July 2005
Philippines Backtrack on Animal Welfare
Those of you that have been receiving our Updates for a while will be aware of the "sincerity" with which the Philippines govt has enforced its Animal Welfare Act (http:\\itstheirdestiny.2kat.net\Phil An Wel.html). The administration in the capital Manila has now however blatantly betrayed the hopes of those Filipinos and the international community who believed that this Act might one day be respected by the authorities.
As visitors to our site will know, dogs are not generally regarded as having much more value than a dinner in the Philippines, in direct contravention of the AWA.
What hope therefore for the stray dogs of Manila? These helpless creatures who had little hope of decent treatment at the hands of Man in the past now face a fate that most of the world has banned as too cruel for the foulest of murderers - electrocution.
The following report is taken from the Inquirer News Service today.
It's a (horrible) dog's life for Manila's strays
July 08, 2005
Updated 00:17am (Mla time)
Tina G. Santos
Inquirer News Service
This was how members of the Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) described the method being considered by the city government of Manila to get rid of stray dogs.
As of yesterday, more than a hundred dogs at the city pound were killed through electrocution.
Emil Rabano, a volunteer of PAWS who documented the procedure, said city pound personnel would pull a dog from a cage with a long steel pole with a rope at the end.
"A dog is dragged, almost suffocating, to the electrocution chamber," he said. "The dog is literally sandwiched between the metal cage and steel roof. Electricity is then released, passing through the roof and then transmitted to the dog."
The dead dogs are then put on a big weighing scale, one on top of the other. In batches of 10, their stomachs are slit while the veterinarian injects enzymes into them, he added.
"The dogs were really treated brutally. Vets use about 300 to 500 volts of electricity per three seconds in the process," Rabano said.
But according to Dr. Manuel Socorro of the city's Veterinary Inspection Bureau (VIB), the procedure was just part of an experiment to find a less expensive method than lethal injection, which costs the city government about P250 per dog.
Dogs that were mostly sick, emaciated and afflicted with mange, and left unclaimed by their owners were usually put to sleep through lethal injection, he said, adding that the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) had given them the go signal to proceed with the study.
"The BAI gave us a year to conduct the experiment. We started about two months ago. We still have to submit the results to the BAI for deliberation," Socorro said. About 30 more dogs are scheduled to undergo the same method until next month.
Mayor Lito Atienza said he was not aware that there was such a study being conducted by the VIB.
However, he admitted that it was the city's policy "to put them (unclaimed dogs) to sleep."
"But there are other civilized ways to do it, definitely not through electrocution. I will not allow it," he said.
Atienza added that he had asked Dr. Jose Diaz, the city veterinarian, to explain the matter. An investigation could follow, if necessary, he said.
Meanwhile, PAWS officials said they intend to give a letter expressing their concern to city officials of Manila.
"Experiments are allowed, but animals should not suffer unnecessary pain," said Ramona Consunji, one of the directors of PAWS.
"It may be legal because it was allowed by the BAI, but it does not make it less unethical, immoral and inhumane," she added. "These barbaric practices simply are not allowed in civilized societies such as ours."
"Electrocution is the second most commonly used method that had been already banned to get rid of unclaimed dogs, next to poisoning. We're going one step backwards," said Anna Cabrera, another PAWS director.
Cabrera even cited the recent "Dog Walk For a Cause (Luv ko c Bantay)" campaign where thousands of dogs and their owners took to the streets to protest the senseless cruelty and indiscriminate slaughter of dogs.
"It's embarrassing. The city that launched a dog walk to fight animal cruelty is now killing dogs," Cabrera added.
It may not come as a great surprise to learn that the Mayor of Manila does not have a working email address (sound familiar?) but protests can be sent to info@... with subject "FAO Mayor Atienza" and they should reach him.
Sample email but, as always, please write your own original if possible.
Dear Mayor Atienza,
I was shocked and horrified to learn that the Bureau of Animal Industry authorised the killing of stray dogs by electrocution as an "experiment" into saving money and that this "study" is to continue.
Your country is regarded with disdain by animal lovers the world over due to the lack of resolve that your government and police display in enforcing the Animal Welfare Act that bans the eating of dogs. To sink to such depths as electrocuting these animals defies belief. Unless you act immediately to halt such barbarous activities your city will rightly be regarded with contempt by the international community.
I respectfully ask that you inform me of what measures you are taking to prevent such atrocities from happening both now and in the future.
Our sincere thanks to our Filipino colleagues (firstname.lastname@example.org) for alerting us to this latest abuse.
Our continued thanks to all of you for your support and for caring enough to want to make a difference.
From all the team at ITD
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