Many people have raised concerns over the dog meat trade across Asia and the recent debate about the trade in South Korea. This matter has now been debated twice in Parliament in the past year and it is vital we keep the Government focused on what the UK can do.
Only robust debate can highlight the concerns you have set out and explore ways in which the UK can help to stop the horrific treatment of dogs involved in the trade.
Clearly it is not for one country to tell another what it can or cannot do, as many of countries in Asia and elsewhere state that eating dog meat is a cultural issue. However, as many people point out, the way in which it is done is unacceptable and the threat to health is a real concern.
However, there is legitimate concern about the dog farms that rear millions of dogs for the food market, especially in South Korea. Also, there is concern that certain Asian nations import dogs, such as greyhounds, which find their way into the human food chain.
Although eating dogs is part of the culture of some countries, there is no doubt that opinion is moving away from the practice. I am grateful to a number of organisations, Soi Dogs, HSI, Animals Asia amongst others, working to stop this through education and highlighting the cruelty involved and they have been liaising with the All Party Parliamentary Group for Animal Welfare (APGAW) to see how politicians can assist.
There have been a number of meetings where they have had representation from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and the discussion has centred on how UK diplomatic and those working in these countries can ensure they have it on their agenda and speak to their counterparts about the health risks and the negative perception it sends out internationally. APGAW has also written to politicians in China, South Korea and Vietnam.
I will be supporting APGAW initiatives. During my time in Parliament, the UK has been a forward-looking government addressing animal welfare at home and abroad, from cosmetic testing and live animal transport, to animal cruelty and whaling. I will continue to support strong animal welfare standard at home and abroad.
If you want to find out more about animal welfare in parliament please visit www.apgaw.org