UK legal loophole allows citizens to kill their pet and eat it

Cat and dog meat is on the political menu, thankfully. There is a tendency by some, and I am firmly in this category, to criticise some Asian countries for allowing the brutal and unregulated killing of cats and dogs as part of the cat and dog meat trade. It is believed that killing the animals brutally improves the taste and the medicinal qualities of the meat. There is no science behind that belief.

Yulin meat festival. A family of dogs is about to feel immense suffering and pain before being eaten by people.
Yulin meat festival. A family of dogs is about to feel immense suffering and pain before being eaten by people. Photo: Getty.
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

However, the RSPCA in the UK said, “There are no rules against somebody keeping and humanely killing their own dog for meat, for the purposes of their own consumption”. I presume that that statement applies to cats as well.

The point being made by Beverly Cooke, 56, and Angie Jones, 49, is that UK citizens cannot preach to Asian citizens about eating cat and dog meat if the practice is not illegal in the UK. It should be stressed, however, that nobody eats cat and dog meat in the UK. I don’t think they’ve done that for centuries or millennia if ever, but I take the point.

The Animal Welfare Act 2006 is a brilliant piece of legislation which protects animals in the UK. However, to use legal language, there is a lacuna in the Act in that it does not specify that the consumption of cat and dog meat is forbidden in the UK.

And they want the Act amended to include that prohibition. Ironically, if a person in the UK wanted to eat their cat, although it would be legal they would have to kill their cat humanely. If they didn’t the process would be illegal because, as mentioned, the legislation protects animals against inhumane treatment.

Cooke and Jones have started a petition which has accrued 8,500 signatures. As stated, they argue that the UK has no “moral authority” to pressure other nations to stop eating cat and dog meat.

Perhaps the great horror of the cat and dog meat trade is the way they kill the animals. I am not going to tell you how it’s done but you can see videos somewhere online if you wanted to see it. But I would strongly recommend against it. The images will never leave your mind. They will pollute your mind for the rest of your life. Which is why it horrifies me as to how people can do this. They are totally inured to the ghastliness and inhumanity of the process.

These two ladies stressed that they are not trying to change Asian culture. They are just trying to stop dogs and cats being beaten and slaughtered in the way that they are. I totally agree. Although personally, I would like to change the culture! I know that that is completely politically incorrect and I will be criticised. Nothing riles the citizens of a country more than being preached to by citizens of another country. I don’t get it. The world is one. The Internet has drawn the world together in terms of communications and observations about cultures.

I think that we have a right to observe and criticise other cultures provided we are polite and the arguments are well reasoned. In this way we can improve the world. For example, we have a right to criticise the lack of commitment in China regarding global warming. They continue to build coal-fired power stations in large numbers. Their plans are to go on doing it. They do have plans for a zero carbon country but the target is set so far in the future that it looks highly unimpressive.

We can criticise this in my opinion because it affects everybody. And I think that the excuse that British industrialisation in Victorian times with consequential climate change that that started prevents us from criticising other countries is false. This is because times have changed. We know more and we understand the process better. This places an obligation upon us to change our ways.

If a cat or dog is treated inhumanely in another country it affects the world, in my opinion. It is one more episode of pain and agony suffered by a companion animal which resonates throughout the world. As I said before, the contract between cats and dogs and humankind does not include their inhumane slaughter by people followed by their consumption. Stopping this is long overdue.

There is another justification for allowing one country to criticise the culture of another: the Covid-19 pandemic. The unregulated slaughter in open markets of cats and dogs risks the transference of zoonotic diseases from these animals to people. We know that it is time to eliminate or minimise these risks bearing in mind the huge problems faced by humanity during this pandemic. Even if you aren’t bothered about animal welfare, think about human health and saving lives.

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