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Ricky Gervais, Dame Judi Dench and several actors from the UK hit series Downton Abbey have joined forces against the illegal dog meat trade in Thailand.
They speak in a video for charity Soi Dog Foundation over distressing footage of dogs being crammed into filthy cages where they are left trapped to starve for days at a time before being killed. The animals are often family pets who have been stolen and systematically beaten before being skinned and boiled alive, a practice used as it is believed the adrenaline released during fear and pain tenderizes the meat.
During the distressing video Dame Judi tells viewers that she was not previously aware that innocent dogs were crammed so tightly into cages that their bones almost break and there is no possible way for them to move during smuggled journeys that can take days. The footage shows the dogs being thrown into cages, crying and left starving before being loaded onto transportation, some die of thirst or starvation along the way, others suffocate. The ones that do survive the horrific journey are killed inhumanely in illegal slaughter houses. Ricky Gervais sais “I did not know about this unimaginable cruelty, and neither do the majority of people of Thailand”
The film is part of a campaign to encourage people to back a petition asking the Thai Government to stop the dog meat trade, it has already been signed by 423,000 people and is addressed to General Prayuth Chan-ocha, Thailand’s prime minister. A letter accompanying the petition warns of the dangers of eating diseased dog meat and transporting unvaccinated animals that can carry cholera and rabies. The petition demands that the dog meat trade be stopped as well as a ban on the serving of dog meat in restaurants.
John Dalley, Vice President of the Soi Dog Foundation, said: “Thai people do not consider dogs or cats as food.
“Some ethnic groups and foreign nationals working in Thailand do, but this is no excuse not to make the practice illegal in a country where the vast majority of its citizens find dog meat consumption abhorrent.
“By not specifically making the practice illegal it provides a huge loop hole for the traders to continue stealing and trading dogs.”
The trade in dogs for meat and skin in Thailand is often linked to organised gangs, who export it to Vietnam and China as well as selling within the country.
You can visit the soi dog foundation by clicking here
You can sign the petition by clicking here