Nagaland bans import, trade and sale of dog meat
Nagaland government on Friday banned the import, trading, and sale of dog meat in the north-eastern state. Earlier, the Mizoram government had taken a similar decision in March.
“The state government has decided to ban the commercial import and trading of dogs and dog markets and also the sale of canine meat, both cooked and uncooked,” Nagaland chief secretary Temjen Toy tweeted after the decision was taken at a cabinet meeting.
“This is a progressive move. In this day and age, positive social media activism and advocacy has an enormous impact on policymakers. Congrats and thanks to all,” Abu Metha, advisor to Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio, tweeted.
While there was not much clarity on what prompted the decision, there has been a recent online campaign against the sale of dogs and canine meat in Nagaland by several organisations, including the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and the Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisation (FIAPO).
“We are again hit by shock and horror at recent images that have emerged from the ‘animal bazaar’ in Dimapur, where dogs are seen in terrifying conditions, tied up in sacks, waiting at a wet market, for their illegal slaughter, trade, and consumption as meat,” FAIPO had said in an appeal to Nagaland government on Thursday, urging it to enforce an immediate ban.
In a statement issued on Friday, Humane Society International (HSI) and People For Animals (PFA), which had earlier demanded an end to canine meat sale in Nagaland, welcomed the state government’s move and dubbed it as a “major turning point” to end cruelty against dogs.
“The decision by the Nagaland cabinet will end the import, trade, and sale of dogs and canine meat. We welcome this decision as a major turning point in ending the cruelty of the country’s illicit dog meat trade,” the statement read.
Canine meat is consumed by some sections of the Nagaland population. Stray dogs caught from neighbouring states and even West Bengal, are routinely smuggled to Nagaland for sale as canine meat in Dimapur, the commercial hub of the state, and other districts and towns as well.
Since the trade is unregulated, no data is available on the volume of dog meat consumed annually in the state, government officials said.However, according to HSI and PFA’s estimates, around 30,000 dogs are smuggled annually to Nagaland, where they are sold in markets and “beaten to death with wooden clubs”.
However, the government didn’t share details about how it would plan to enforce the ban, as the trade is informal and unregulated.The government decision has met with some opposition by civil society groups and eminent persons, who termed the move as an infringement on food habits of the local Naga population.
“The government may have some reasons why they decided to impose the ban. But, it will have an impact on food habits as dog meat is consumed by a section of the local population. I have no idea how the government will restrict food habits and implement the ban,” said Theja Therieh, secretary, Naga Tribes Council.
“I am a dog lover and don’t consume dog meat. But consumption of dog meat has been part of our culture, so instead of taking a hurried decision based on a campaign, mostly from outside the state, the government could have talked to the stakeholders first,” said Alobo Naga, a popular local musician.
In March, the Mizoram assembly had passed the Animal Slaughter (Amendment) Bill, 2020, removing dogs from the list of animals suitable for slaughter, effectively imposing a ban on sale and purchase of canine meat in the state.