Nagaland govt bans import, trade and sale of dog meat
Nagaland government on Friday banned import, trading and sale of dog meat in the state. The move follows a similar decision taken by Mizoram government in March this year.
“The state government has decided to ban commercial import and trading of dogs and dog markets and also the sale of dog meat, both cooked and uncooked,” Nagaland chief secretary Temjen Toy tweeted after the decision was taken at a cabinet meeting.
While there was not much clarity on what prompted the decision, there has been a recent online campaign against sale of dogs and dog meat in Nagaland by several organizations including People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisation (FIAPO).
“We are again hit by shock and horror at recent images that have emerged from ‘animal bazaar’ markets in Dimapur (Nagaland) where dogs are seen in terrified conditions, tied up in sacks (gunny bags), waiting at a wet market, for their illegal slaughter, trade and consumption as meat,” FAIPO had said in an appeal to Nagaland government on July 2 urging it to put a ban.
In a statement issued on Friday, Humane Society International and People For Animals, two other organisations demanding end to dog meat sale in Nagaland, welcomed the Nagaland government move as a ‘major turning point’ to end cruelty against dogs.
“The decision by the cabinet will end the import, trade and sale of live dogs and dog meat. We welcome this decision as a major turning point in ending cruelty of India’s hidden dog meat trade,” the statement read.
According to HSI and PFA estimates around 30,000 dogs are smuggled annually to Nagaland where they are sold in live markets and “beaten to death with wooden clubs”.
Dog meat is consumed by some sections of Nagaland population. Stray dogs caught from neighbouring states and even West Bengal, are routinely smuggled to the state for sale as meat in Dimapur, the commercial hub of Nagaland, and other places.
Since the trade is unregulated, there is no detail on how much dog meat is consumed annually in the state.
“This is a progressive move. In today age, positive social media activism and advocacy has enormous impact on policy makers. Congrats and thanks to all,” Abu Metha, advisor to Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio, tweeted.
The government decision, however, has met with some opposition by civil society groups and eminent persons who termed the move as an infringement on food habits.
“Government may have some reasons on why they decided to impose the ban. But it will have an impact on food habit as dog meat is consumed by common people. I have no idea how 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 stakeholders first,” said popular musician Alobo Naga.
In March, the Mizoram assembly passed the Animal Slaughter Bill, 2020 removing dogs from the list of animals suitable for slaughter, effectively imposing a ban on sale and purchase of dog meat in the state.