A dog in a cage on a motobike Takeo, Cambodia

Ending Widescale Animal Exploitation to Prevent Further Pandemics

The Dog and Cat Meat Trade presents a real future pandemic risk


Keen to #ProtectMillions of dog and cats, as well as people from an uncertain future, FOUR PAWS have asked the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) to call on global governments to do more to prevent future pandemics by ending widescale animal exploitation. Concerned by evidence that the live transportation and inhumane confinement of animals has caused the COVID-19 pandemic, any recovery action must include animal-friendly solutions to ensure a more sustainable and resilient future.

According to the World Health Organization, 70 percent of human diseases discovered in the past 50 years were caused by disease originating from animals. These are known as zoonoses, or zoonotic diseases, which can pass between vertebrate animals (including humans). Zoonoses consist of bacterial infections, such as Salmonella, but also fungal infections, parasites, and viruses (i.e. Ebola, Avian Influenza (H5N1), SARS and COVID-19). The greater the exposure between humans and other animals, particularly where the animals are experiencing undue distress, the greater the risk of zoonotic disease transfer. The outcomes can range from mild to serious illness in humans and even death. Authorities must therefore do all they can to prevent these outcomes by ending the trade.

Dogs getting transported to a slaughterhouse

By its very nature, the trade in dog and cat meat presents heightened risk to local communities and tourists alike. Dogs and cats are captured from the streets (as well as people’s homes) and openly sold in marketplaces across Southeast Asia. An animal’s bite might transfer rabies, whilst an airborne disease (e.g. Influenzas) can transfer through close proximity. If the trading, slaughter, and consumption of dogs and cats continues, then so does a potential risk for future emergent disease. Whereby, in an increasingly inter-connected world, emerging zoonoses in one country can potentially constitute a threat to global health security.

FOUR PAWS is calling on the governments of Vietnam, Cambodia and Indonesia in particular, to end the dog and cat meat trade, and protect the world from another pandemic.

Since the COVID-19 outbreak, which could well have emerged from a marketplace in Wuhan (China), the two major Chinese cities (Shenzhen and Zhuhai) have introduced bans on the consumption of dog and cat meat, and the national government has recognised dogs as companions and not livestock; explicitly stating that they should not be considered livestock. This is a significant step towards ending the dog meat trade in China.

FOUR PAWS is calling on the UNWTO and the WHO to urge global governments to end the dog and cat meat trade, and other forms of animal exploitation, and protect the world from another pandemic.

Welcoming its One Planet Vision to #RestartTourism, FOUR PAWS has engaged the UNWTO in its concerted efforts to end the dog and cat meat trade. Since the COVID-19 outbreak, tourism has been in crisis, and the UNWTO, in collaboration with the World Health Organisation, seek ‘to build for a better and more resilient future’. FOUR PAWS has called for all recovery actions to do more to prevent the emergence of viral disease and safeguard the health and welfare of host communities and tourists, and animals.

The dog and cat meat trade is an impediment to that future, and it must be stopped. 

End the Dog and Cat Meat Trade

Please sign our petition to end the Dog and Cat Meat Trade in Southeast Asia to get the message to decision-makers that this trade has to be stopped, both to protect people and animals, and please sign up for updates as we work for a definitive end to the trade.

Daniel Turner

Daniel Turner

Environmental Biologist and Expert for Dog and Cat Meat Trade

Daniel Turner is an environmental biologist who has been working for the advancement of applied animal welfare for over 20 years. During that time, he has created and led initiatives that have influenced international policy, national legislation and activities by international travel industry. In 2018, Daniel co-founded ANIMONDIAL, a specialist consultancy that provides impartial advice and practical guidance to help better manage tourism’s impact on animals and the natural environment. Daniel provides expert assistance to FOUR PAWS on its campaign to end the Dog and Cat Meat Trade in Southeast Asia.

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