GUWAHATI: Humane Society International‘s India unit and People for Animal have welcomed Nagaland government‘s decision to end the brutal dog meat trade.

The decision by the cabinet will end the import, trade and sale of live dogs and dog meat.

The two animal welfare organisations, who have for years campaigned together to end dog meat trade in India, termed this decision as a major turning point.

HSI/India’s managing director Alokparna Sengupta said: “The suffering of dogs in Nagaland has long cast a dark shadow over India, and so this news marks a major turning point in ending the cruelty of India’s hidden dog meat trade. Our own investigation in Nagaland showed terrified dogs being subjected to an horrific death, some of the worst inhumanity to animals HSI/India has ever witnessed. And the dogs we have rescued from this trade over the years have had to learn to trust humans again after the cruel treatment they endured.”

She also thanked MP Maneka Gandhi for her support and Nagaland cabinet for its decision to ban the trade.

“We warmly thank Maneka Gandhi for her leadership and the vital impetus she has provided in achieving this decision from the Government of Nagaland so quickly after the latest evidence emerged. We also congratulate the Government of Nagaland and offer our support so that this decision can be robustly implemented. The Government of Nagaland has shown great leadership and we urge other states such as Mizoram, Tripura and Arunachal Pradesh to follow their lead by implementing a dog meat trade ban too,” she said.

Earlier this week, Gandhi made an urgent public appeal to urge the Government of Nagaland to stop the trade and consumption of dog meat after receiving photographs of the trade from a Nagaland-based animal protection organization. The appeal led to more than 125,000 people writing to the Nagaland government.

Around 30,000 dogs a year are smuggled into Nagaland where they are sold in live markets and beaten to death with wooden clubs, as per the HSI estimates.

Dog meat consumption is prohibited in India through the Food Safety and Standard (Food Products Standard and Additives) Regulation, 2011. However, this is poorly enforced, and in the states of Nagaland, Mizoram, Tripura and Arunachal Pradesh, thousands of dogs each year are illegally captured from the streets or stolen from homes, and cruelly transported from neighbouring states in gunny bags to be brutally slaughtered for consumption by being beaten to death.

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