FOOD VIOLATIONS IN THE PET MEAT TRADE
One of thee biggest and most concerning problems I witness within the pet meat trade is multiple food and hygiene violations. Violations that place both human and animal life at risk of disease and in worst case scenarios – Death. Furthermore I often witness many organisations online that either disregard this critically important health risk, or seem more concerned about posting graphic images on the trade while soliciting donations, yet seemingly not bothering to educate their viewers on the “importance of these images and videos, down to how these images and videos can actually help to wipe this repulsive trade out once and for all”.
So today I have again decided to document on such violations, but am going to educate all seven million of our viewers around the world of just how serious the images depicted herein actually are. I am going to keep this document as easy reading as possible, while detailing the facts briefly but in as much detail as I can (without confusing people with scientific jargon). Below I have included a number of images within this document. The images contain small white circles that point out minor and extremely major food violations, all of which in the Western world would see such vendors and restaurants closed down immediately for placing public health at risk of contracting diseases.
FOOD VIOLATION | CROSS CONTAMINATION
Firstly I want you the reader to think – If I hadn’t of circled the most important food violations within this image below, what would you the viewer think of this image? Let me try and answer that question for you. Firstly I’d most likely be enraged that a dead feline had been slaughtered, and is now being prepared to cook to consume. And secondly, (there is no second). There is no second because my own anger, frustration and shock has overwhelmed me, of which that is all I see within this image, a dead cat, and nothing more.
I am now technically angry, and upset that someone has killed an innocent cat, and then I move onto the next image. My next thought would probably be to either leave a derogatory comment under that post, or to donate to the organisation that hasn’t shown any information or education about this image or any “graphic” pet meat trade image whatsoever.
Within the image above I have highlighted nine of the most common food violations that would be prompt any food safety inspectorate to immediately close this restaurant or vendor down within the modern western world. What are these violations? Let’s take a look.
- The window in the far left has a cracked wooden frame that bacteria would/will thrive within.
- On the right hand side of the window is mold that bacteria will grow within, that’s not forgetting the toxic spores that the mold would emit in to the ambient preparation environment thus ending up on the surrounding food itself leading to food spoilage.
- A water bottle that is possibly being used by the cook looks pretty innocent doesn’t it? Well that pretty innocent water bottle is situated next to an uncooked dead animal carcass. While the bottle may be sealed, the cook may cross contaminate that bottle with blood from the animal, simply by a single touch of his/her hand. Once the bottle is turned upside down to drink from, blood drains from that bottle into the cooks mouth which could or will see food poisoning occur from secondary cross contamination.
- The white circle in the right hand side of the image, shows an open window. While that open window may look innocent, the open window is a free entry for pests and diseases to enter into the preparation area thus spoiling the food (E.g.) flies, aphids, and parasites. Furthermore should the outside environment temperature be warmer than the inside ambient temperature, food such as meat, dairy, or cooked meats will heat up, which will see bacteria multiple on the foods spoiling them. For every twenty minutes bacteria is present, that bacteria will double in number. 1,000 bacteria = many thousands more.
- Dirty chopping boards can harbor thousands if not billions of bacteria, furthermore if this chopping board hasn’t been washed or even replaced every six months to a year, it looses its triclosan (antibacterial cover) which helps to kill off bacteria. While there is a wooden board present, that too is just as disgusting and filthy, and harboring anything from a million to a billion bacteria.
- The black bucket itself is a breeding ground for any bacteria to thrive in. The black bucket has what looks like chaff marks on of which bacteria will weed themselves out of and contaminate any food nearby.
- Vegetables that are unprepared or prepared shouldn’t be anywhere near a “raw meat preparation zone”. Vegetables and meat cooks at different temperatures, furthermore meat and vegetables require either shorter or longer periods of cooking. Salads should not under any circumstances be anywhere near “raw meat zones” whatsoever.
- Cracked tiles are the perfect breeding ground for any would be bacteria to grow. Furthermore cracked surfaces cannot be cleaned adequately which in turn leaves the area unclean. I wouldn’t even want to guess how many millions of bacteria are actually present within this single cracked tile.
- Blood and general dirty surfaces is not good food practice, and should any salad vegetables come into contact with this surface, I’d hate to think just how much bacteria the “customer” would be consuming (over that of pet meat).
The above nine food violations are commonly seen within all Asian and African unregulated food trades. These type of violations are commonly identified as (cross contamination’s). With no regulation or even monitoring of these trades, it paves the way for trillions of bacteria, diseases and virus to spawn their way into the general public’s food thus equaling food poisoning caused by human negligence.
As a human and environmental scientist I am at the best of times shocked if not perplexed at the sheer ignorance of Asian and African governments that are all up for protecting human health and safety, yet unregulated meat trades such as the above – are an imminent disaster waiting to happen on a gargantuan scale. On one end you have armed forces and police protecting people from terrorism or terrorists of which each terror atrocity kills on average 100-200 innocent civilians (Est). Yet in Asia a staggering (700,000) people die from food poisoning annually. Source: http://www.iccservices.org.uk/pdf/Food_Poisoning_Facts.pdf So I think its safe to say that food poisoning viruses are indeed the biggest threat to homeland security, something Asian and African governments seem oblivious too.
“FOOD TERRORISM KILLS 700,000 A YEAR IN ASIA ANNUALLY”
Lets leave food poisoning out of the equation now and concentrate on actual “human on human terrorism” of which in the past year terror attacks have risen by 80% in the past 365 days. Furthermore lets not forget the very (concerning 700,000 thousand innocent people), most of which are food consumers that are killed by poor food hygiene in Asia alone.
Back in 2014 the Global Terrorism Index (GTI) stated that some 32,658 people were slaughtered by terrorist attacks worldwide, totaling on average a combined 140,000 terror attacks. 2014 was marked by the (GTI) as being the largest kill rate seeing terrorist kill rates soar by some 80% in a single year from 2013-2014. Source: http://economicsandpeace.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Global-Terrorism-Index-2015.pdf
The index ranks the level of terrorism in 162 countries – representing 99.5% of the world’s population – by measuring the number of attacks, injuries, deaths and property damage as a result of terror attacks. The UK ranked 28th in the index – higher than the United States, Iran and France, although the report did not include the impact of the Paris attacks in which 129 people were killed.
Terrorism remained highly concentrated in just five countries, with Iraq, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Syria accounting for 78% of terror-related deaths in 2014, the index found. The UK recorded the highest number of terrorist incidents of Western countries with 102 last year, although they did not result in any deaths. The majority of the attacks were in Northern Ireland and involved the New IRA, the report said.
CAN YOU SEE THE TERRORIST?
Okay, so now I am going to show you a picture below of which its very obvious what the image depicts. An armed individual that has “probably killed numerous innocent civilians”. Can you see him? Keep telling yourself, “I can see him, he’s armed and he’s certainly dangerous looking, and he’s very much within my sight”.
So you can see the individual in front of you whom is holding a rifle. 2014-2015 most of the 36,000 people that were killed as a direct result of terror atrocities and/or attacks actually witnessed their aggressor before they were killed. Asian and African governments have been quoted as clamping down hard on terrorism, yet over 700,000 people a year are killed as a direct result of food terror – yet this critically important issue within the pet meat trade seems to be going ignored. 700,000 people is indeed more people killed annually than any terror attack recorded since the WWI and WWII.
In the image below what can you see? Take a good hard long look at this image. Can you see the terrorist or terrorists should I say? The answer is of course – no you cannot see them. You cannot see these terrorists or terror “suspects” as they are approximately 50 to 60 micrometers long (I.e – microbes). Lets take a look.
The image above looks pretty much innocent in the sense that there is no immediate threat whatsoever to human life. The woman to the right is not armed, and the guy to her right is going about his daily duties of food preparation. Unfortunately there are over a dozen terror suspects within this image waiting to take action on their next victim[s]. That victim could have been anyone of the 700,000 Asian citizens that consumed dog or cat meat from unhygienic premises, that poses a direct “threat to human health” in the way of “food terrorism”. So lets take a look at these non-visible, and virtually invisible terrorists.
- A dirty cooking pan hanging from a filthy brick wall. Any species of animal could have at some point took refuge on this wall. Lets say a chicken. Chickens defecate, and with chicken defecation comes germs and bacteria. Salmonella is the number one terrorist then in this situation, as salmonella can easily be passed onto humans via chicken droppings.
- An innocent (unarmed) cooking lid, looks pretty much cool, calm and collected. What’s harboring underneath that lid though, or more to the point – what has the lid been placed on? Lets say a dog has rubbed its backside up against that wall (yummy)!. What’s the likelihood of contracting a virus? High if that lid is not cleaned. and the virus is? Toxoplasma gondii is likely. The lid could be innocently placed onto or next to raw non-cooked or cooked – foods thus equaling (cross contamination).
- Dirty rags, Mmm, looks pretty much safe, and not likely to pounce or fire a quick succession of AK47 rounds off into the air. What the hell is on that rag though that’s most likely going to be used to clean pots? Flu viruses, Rhinovirus, Norovirus, E. coli, salmonella, Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) and campylobacter are all just a handful of nasty food germ terrorists that we really don’t require within our food from filthy rotten germ infested rags. Oh just for the record, Norovirus kills over 200,000 people a year. Lovely!
- Not quite sure what this is hanging down from the main food preparation area (that shouldn’t be outside). Whatever it is, its not important as such. More what has landed or took refuge on this overhanging decoration. Let’s say wild birds have visited for a brief eavesdropping, and they want to leave you a farewell present of wild-bird feces. Any food that is prepared under that overhanging decoration can become contaminated with a STAGGERING SIXTY DISEASES that you seriously do not want in your food! One of the most serious food contamination’s is that of Avian Flu that has killed many hundreds of people throughout Asia.
- Chemical contamination of food seems to be increasing within pet meat consuming countries – especially on the Asia continent. There shouldn’t be under any circumstances any form of non-food chemicals anywhere near food or within a food preparation area. Lets say this tub of unknown ingredients is “Lean Meat Powder Pork” commonly used in Asian food preparation within China. Lean Meat Powder Pork can cause – dizziness, heart palpitations, diarrhoea and profuse sweating – in worst case scenarios this substance can cause death.
- An open filthy river, again looks pretty much innocent. However any insect such as flies can simply swoop in for a mere taste of the local specialties thus spoiling food. That innocent fly could have anything on its pads from animal dung to dog feces. The most common virus a fly could leave is that of a vomiting virus. Not really what I’d call “good customer service”.
- Hairnets must always be worn within food preparation and raw meat preparation. While there is no real major food terrorist here the woman could have touched a bloodied animal carcass, then patted her hair down. That means a cross contamination of a virus of some sort. Lets say she has touched raw pork, and then goes over to inspect the local ‘cooked dog or cat meat’. She brushes her hair again, and a loose hair follicle contaminated with raw pork blood ends up in food that doesn’t require cooking or further cooking, Hepatitis E viruses, Trichinosis, and Ecoli, are three of many viruses that can end up in food causing severe and unwanted sickness, simply by not wearing a hair net.
- The guy to the innocent woman’s right is again not really looking dangerous, apart from the fact that he has no T-Shirt on or even a protective food apron which is pretty much vile and a 100% food violation within the Western world. Aprons stop anything from hair, skin cells, down to human viruses from being passed onto the food. Furthermore gloves are not being worn for the “average of twenty minutes” that would keep a barrier in between the food prep and the food. Most common types of food virus are vomiting and cold bugs.
- Improper foot-ware is not being used within a food preparation area, which could in this case pose a danger “to the food server and preparatory individual”. We know that rabies is very problematic within Asia and accounts for thousands of deaths every year. Should anyone of the (live or dead stolen pets), be infected with rabies, and the man with no proper and safe foot-ware have open wounds on his feet, he’s likely to contract the deadly rabies virus equaling death!
- And finally in at number ten, as like the young man on the floor preparing food, the woman is also wearing open toed shoes which is again a big no no within food preparation or any food service. Unwashed nails contain the natural microflora or resident bacteria and microbes and the transient bacteria from the objects that the hands come in contact with. When the hands are unwashed, there are millions and millions of bacteria living and growing on it. And you really don’t want them bacteria in your food.
CAN YOU SEE THE FOOD TERRORIST NOW?
The whole purpose of this article is to educate not discriminate. Over 700,000 people die every-year in Asia alone from food viruses, and food contamination. That’s 700,000 too many of which The Anti Pet & Bush Meat Coalition are trying to stop in relation to the virus filled dog and cat meat trade. Please sign the petition below and help by donating via the link.
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My name is Dr Jose. C. Depre and thank you for reading.
Dr Jose C. Depre PhD. MEnvSc. BSc(Hons) Botany, PhD(NeuroSci) D.V.M.
Environmental & Human Science
EMBASSY DAY: 17TH SEPTEMBER 2015 WWW.SAYNOTODOGMEAT.NET
Did you know on the 17th September 2015 from 11:00am the Australian organisation www.saynotodogmeat.net, registration 49 860 343 527 will be hosting peaceful demonstrations around the globe within nine major cities? Embassy Day forms the first (governmental) lobbying in relation to #OperationUnite 2016. Embassy Day will be the organisations second largest demo since April 4th 2015. Back in April Say No To Dog Meat made history by hosting the worlds largest anti pet meat demo in over twenty five countries.
On the 4th April 2015 the Say No To Dog Meat family hit the streets internationally in their thousands marching for dogs and cats in the horrific pet meat trade. The main April protests were non-governmental, however was a reminder that should the (eight governments) the organisation are lobbying not respond to the polite requests from the Aussie organisation. The next step would be Embassy Day, September 2015. Finally after Embassy Day, the organisation will then begin gearing up for phase two of Operation Unite 2016 that will be held October 2nd and 3rd 2016. Followed up with #OperationUnite comes the new #lovefamily campaign too.
Image: (SNTDM) supporter, #lovefamily campaign.
September 17th 2015 will see demonstrators lobbying South Korean embassies within Los Angeles, United States and Ottawa, Canada. Then in New York the Indonesian embassy, followed up with the Cambodian embassy in Seattle, United States will be demonstrated. Meanwhile within the United Kingdom the Vietnamese embassy will be peacefully protested in London, followed up with the Indian consulate in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The Nigerian embassy in Johannesburg, South Africa will follow soon after. The Thailand consulate within Perth and Philippines consulate in Brisbane, Australia will be peacefully lobbied too.
Donna Armes, campaign manager and director confirmed that all embassy consulate generals and ambassadors had been sent communications months before Embassy Day was planned. Furthermore the campaign manager stated a second electronic communication had been sent and received by embassy staff informing them about the peaceful protests, and why the organisation has been forced to lobby all nine embassies. Embassy staff, consulates and ambassadors have failed to acknowledge the Aussie organisations peaceful plans which is a little frustrating but then the organisation didn’t expect a reply anyway.
Say No To Dog Meat volunteers and directors will begin the ‘peaceful demonstrations’ with an up to date speech on current and past issues in relation to both ‘Asian and African’ dog and cat meat trade outside of each embassy. After the main speech the public can stay or depart of which the organisations volunteers and directors will then be handing into the embassies all data and petitions.
Image: Nigeria, woman prepares dog carcass for [404 joint delicacy, peppered dog soup].
Each petition contains from 10,000 to 200,000 signatures. Statistics on pet meat consumption death rates, virus and disease, regulations and violations of current standing law, predictive model data research, food hygiene violations will be handed into the consulate generals and ambassadors too. Presidential letters will also feature within the pack of which each government has a set six to eight months to respond. The organisation is not expecting an immediate or even positive response, of which OPERATION UNITE will continue to go ahead come October 2016.
For the very first time in history the Indian and Nigerian embassies will be lobbied by the organisation in relation to the Indian, Nagaland and Nigerian pet meat trades. Nigeria is the largest dog meat consuming country on the continent of Africa and third largest on the planet. Furthermore deaths from consumption of diseased or rabies infested pet meat has skyrocketed this year alone with some eighty people dead already. Meanwhile the Indian Nagaland state loses on average an estimated forty people a year via the direct consumption of rabies infested dog meat. Rabies is also on the rise in both pet meat consuming zones. India is where 85% of all human rabies deaths occurred between 1995 and 2004. Over this period there were 21404 rabies deaths a year there. Death rates for 2014 are yet to be seen.
“About 3.5 million dog bites are registered every year in India. The Government cannot give vaccine free of cost to all people. From 2006, the price of vaccine has increased…”
Despite many protests against the South Korean Bok Nal pet meat trade that began in June and ended in the first week of August. The South Korean government took no notice of expert knowledge, scientific data or petitions handed to them. Instead they allowed traders to continue the horrific disease riddled trade, and took little notice of their own laws and guidelines implemented to protect dogs and cats in meat trade. Dare we ask what the point is in introducing animal protection laws, just to allow native citizens to continue violating them?
From 2013-2015 Say No To Dog Meat has vainly lobbied the Viet Nam health minister and president Trương Tấn Sang to bring an end to the pet meat trade. On the 19th August 2014 reports issued by the (World Health Organisation) confirmed that deaths rates had increased slightly to forty (per year), however its estimated that some one hundred people die annually from rabies infection.
Despite the Aussie organisation sending more than enough scientific evidence to the Vietnamese health minister and president the trade continues. From 1995-2004 the then death rate from rabies in Viet Nam stood at some 1,550. Since 2004 the Vietnamese pet meat trade has increased. Death rates continue to increase within the country from the direct consumption of diseased pet meat, statistics from 2014 showed many of these deaths were infant related either bitten by dogs on private land or from consuming rabied infected dog and cat meat.
March 16th 2009 the Vietnamese government were handed third party data from; National Institute of Infectious and Tropical Diseases and the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology in Hanoi, Viet Nam that stated; “Most Rabies deaths in Vietnam were from the direct Butchering and eating of either dog or cat meat”.
Vietnamese researchers confirmed;
“In Viet Nam, dogs with rabies have been detected in dog slaughterhouses and workers at dog slaughterhouses are vaccinated against rabies as part of the national programme for rabies control and prevention. However, the private slaughter of dogs is relatively common in the country which increases rabies infection rates”
“Vietnamese doctors already consider dog slaughtering to be a risk factor for rabies transmission, but it is important that other health care workers and policy makers, both in- and outside Vietnam, are aware of this risk factor”
Dog and cat meat trade is now finally illegal within Thailand, unfortunately this doesn’t stop traffickers from snatching dogs and transporting from Thailand into the Viet Nam. Yes the trade may indeed be illegal, but again our own investigative journalists have located street traders openly selling and smuggling unhygienic meat in rural communities.
Back in 2013 [Life With Dogs] stated; “In the past week, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam have signed a deal with the intention of ending the importation and sale of dogs to be used as food. This move was initiated by their governments because of the involvement of animal welfare group Asia Canine Protection Alliance. The ACPA is comprised of four notable animal groups: Animals Asia, Change for Animals Foundation, Humane Society International and Soi Dog Foundation.
We are now in 2015 and as yet [SpeakupFortheVoiceless] and [SayNoToDogMeat] have yet to witness any such decrease of trade within Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos. Trafficking and snatching of pet dogs and cats continues within Thailand feeding the trade within the Viet Nam and China. Why has it taken from 2013 to do nothing? One only has to walk the streets of Hanoi, Saigon, Hoi An and Ben Tre to witness dog meat traders more than active. On June 30 2015, police from Sakol Nakorn intercepted a truck carrying the butchered remains and carcasses of more than 100 dogs. The truck was heading for Tha Rae, [the traditional home of Thailand’s dog meat trade]. Yet trade is illegal!
Within the Philippines the government has introduced tough and stringent laws with regards to pet meat traffickers and peddlers (Please click the links to view current data from government). Say No To Dog Meat recognizes the Philippines as one of few Asiatic countries on the continent that has taken the pet meat trade seriously. Despite a law banning the killing and maltreatment of dogs (Animal Welfare Act of 1998), dog-eating and the industry that supplies it continues particularly in the northern part of the country. Back in June 23 2013, some 12 dogs were rescued in San Pedro Laguna, according to the Department of Agriculture (DA).
The Philippines government aims to eliminate the country’s dog meat trade by 2016, AKF Head and Legal Counsel Heidi Caguioa told Rappler . Eradication means no more dog meat traders and no more dog meat restaurants. Say No To Dog Meat will be lobbying the Philippines embassy within Brisbane, Australia calling on the government to strengthen the current Animal Welfare Act 1998 and Rabies Act 9482.
Finally Say No To Dog Meat volunteers will be lobbying the Indonesian embassy calling on the government to enact law and close down all known dog meat markets. The Indonesian dog meat trade is allegedly associated with the Minahasa culture of northern Sulawesi, Maluku culture and the Bataks of northern Sumatra, where dog meat is considered a festive dish, usually reserved for occasions such as weddings and Christmas. While Say No To Dog Meat and our comrades Animal Defenders Indonesia, Surabaya Tanpa Dog Meat, Bali Adoption and Rehabilitation Center would like to believe this, the trade on dog and cat meat actually occurs every day of the month.
This September 2015 please unite with Say No To Dog Meat this Embassy Day 2015. For more information please contact the organisation here via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Image: Say No To Dog Meat, Team Perth.
Chief Executive Officer.
Abuse or Culture?
Its been a long time since I last documented on the hyena men within Nigeria. My last article was more focusing on why men feel the need to take any animal from its natural habitat, drugging the animals into submission thus in a way domesticating them. Peter Hugo was one of the very first men to document and illustrate on this rather strange and morbid behavior of both man and animals.
This Wednesdays article focuses more on whether such domestication of wild hyenas (or any animals from the wild) is considered abusive or culture and, will such a “fashion trend” spread into neighboring countries on the continent of Africa? Yes, you did just read that correctly – hyenas are seen by some people (mainly men) within Nigeria as a fashion statement over dogs. Yet the hyena is more closely related to cats and not dogs.
Brief hyena history:
Hyenas or hyaenas (from Greek ὕαινα hýaina) are the animals of the family Hyaenidae /haɪˈɛnɨdiː/ of the feliform suborder of the Carnivora. With only four extant species, it is the fifth-smallest biological family in the Carnivora, and one of the smallest in the class Mammalia. Despite their low diversity, hyenas are unique and vital components of most African ecosystems.
Within Western African tradition hyenas have been known to mingle and interact with humans. The spotted hyena was considered a “bad Muslim” who challenge the local animism that exists among the Beng in Côte d’Ivoire. In East Africa, Tabwa mythology portrays the spotted hyena as a solar animal that first brought the sun to warm the cold earth, while West African folklore generally shows the hyena as symbolizing immorality, dirty habits, the reversal of normal activities, and other negative traits. In Tanzania, there is a belief that witches use spotted hyenas as mounts.
In the Mtwara Region of Tanzania, it is believed that a child born at night while a hyena is crying will likely grow up to be a thief. In the same area, hyena faeces are believed to enable a child to walk at an early age, thus it is not uncommon in that area to see children with hyena dung wrapped in their clothes.
Image: Hyena and cub.
The Kaguru of Tanzania and the Kujamaat of Southern Senegal view hyenas as inedible and greedy hermaphrodites. A mythical African tribe called the Bouda is reputed to house members able to transform into hyenas. A similar myth occurs in Mansoa. These “werehyenas” are executed when discovered, but do not revert to their human form when killed. In all hyena’s are pretty much disliked among many traditional communities and are thought to bring a whole host of bad spirits and bad luck.
The hyena men and hyena man:
There are two groups of hyena men known. The first resides in Nigeria known as travelling performers while in Ethiopia there remains a “hyena man” rather than “men” named as Yusef. The Nigerian hyena men were first photographed by Peter Hugo. Nigerian hyena men are known to capture hyena’s, baboons and pythons of which are then tamed aggressively which we believe the use of powerful narcotics or veterinary tranquilizers are used to heavily subdue or sedate the animals removing their primal hunting instincts and natural behavior thus converting to human slavery.
Noted as travelling performers the hyena men are said to care for their animals while travelling the country followed by many whom shower the men with Naira (Nigerian currency). From observing reports it seems that the hyena men are really no different to the Monks of Tiger Temple in Indonesia. Drug and herbal concoctions are administered to subdue the animals before being captured and when on display to ensure the men are not injured or even killed by these aggressive carnivores. Peter Hugo also described how the men bathe in an unknown medical concoction of herbs as well as drinking medicinal concoctions in the belief that this will protect the men from harm when hunting and capturing the animals for later human domestication.
On hunting the hyena down with dogs the men are then said to blow a white tranquilizing powder into the face of the hyena in the hope to subdue it once the beast has been coaxed out its den. Once the hyena is subdued the men are then said to cage the animal before bringing the animal back to the local village community. Mr Hugo described that when the hyena’s are captured the hyena men then rub a unknown medicine onto the body of the hyena that is said to make the animal completely obedient.
Environmental News and Media are not quite sure as to what the medicine is or even if any such “medical rub” is administered that has any form of active properties to help subdue the animals. Its quite possible the “white powder” that is blown into the face of the animal could be “Diazepam” which would explain why the animal is then quickly subdued and for long periods of time. We don’t believe that any such skin rub that is administered to the animal would then make the animal[s] completely obedient. For such a large predatory animal to be subdued completely one would require a significantly large dose of analgesia, opiates or a stronger barbiturate to fully contain and subdue the animal. That would then be considered as abuse and something which is a violation under the Nigerian Animal Welfare Law.
Image: Hyena boys with muzzled Hyena.
Once the hyena is under the complete control of its handlers the handler will then teach the animal performing tricks and, how to live with its captive abductors (see video below). We do find this again quite baffling to take on board as hyena’s are natural born killers, very predatory and, on viewing the imagery taken by Peter Hugo it clearly shows multiple hyenas heavily chained and muzzled. So in all fairness while some people have been led to believe this is all OK its quite possible that these stunning animals are being fed a heavy dose of tranquilizers and/or depressive human or animal related relaxation medications.
Due to Nigeria’s rampant poverty the handlers were/are “allegedly forced” to parade their captive animals through the local community streets of which any raised money is said to be used to fend and care for the animals well being. In reality any money that is raised or stolen is used to feed their alleged narcotic habit and crime.
Baboons will perform a variety of tricks of which money is handed over to either animal or animals handler. Unfortunately the main earners are hyenas. Another concern raised was that many abducted animals are sold onto zoological gardens within the country that’s seen as another money maker. Peter Hugo quoted “The hyena men of Nigeria do more than simply put on a street show but they provide medicine to the public and more importantly stimulate the economy of whatever area they are in as well as act as a cultural product from the area”.
Meanwhile on the outskirts of Harar, Ethiopia another hyena man is said to exist known as Yusef. Yusef does not make money from animal performances but more admires their attention – despite these animals belonging to the wild and can at times be very unpredictable. Every night Yusef will feed the visiting hyenas with mule and camel meat. In a way these species of hyena seem to tolerate Yusef and also enjoy his company of which Yusef treats them like domesticated dogs. Many people in Harar are said to actually worship the hyena and treat them with the utmost respect which could explain why they’re not kept as performing animals but left to live how they should within their natural habitat.
Crime and exploitation:
Moving back to the Nigerian hyena men local press and media that picked the story up few years back were quoted as stating “that these men were bank robbers, bodyguards, drug dealers and debt collectors”. Between March 7th and 15th 2015 a local man named as Mr Mohammed Nafiu aged 27 who has been “suspected” of being part of the hyena men group was arrested and charged after using baboons and pythons to rob people within the country.
He pleaded not guilty to the charges. However, the prosecutor, ASP Eranus Nnamonu insisted that the accused committed the offences on March 7 and 17 when he terrorised the residents of Ogba and Ijaiye in Lagos.
He said Mr. Nafiu, armed with a fully grown baboon and a venomous snake, also terrified a crowd waiting to board a bus at Ogba Bus Stop. Mr. Nnamonu said the accused isolated a witness, Joshua Odogwu, and thereafter obtained N57, 000 from him.
“The obviously terrified victim dropped all he had in his bag along with N57, 000 cash, which the accused collected,” he said. In addition, he said the accused had on March 17 visited the shop of a man, Henry Ugwuokoh, and forcefully obtained N230, 000. The offences, Mr. Nnamonu noted, contravened Sections 166, 294, 295 and 409 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011. In her ruling, the Magistrate, Abimbola Komolafe, granted the accused bail in the sum of N100, 000 with two sureties in like sum and adjourned the case to June 18 2015 for trial to be held tomorrow.
Recently back in 2014 a local documentary-maker Tarryn Crossman won the award for Best Documentary Short for Hyena Boys at the California International Shorts Festival. Despite much criticism and debate from Carte Blanche, 50/50 and environmental and animal welfare groups the “award winning short film” was aired. Since Peter Hugo’s capture on the hyena men now known as the hyena boys, countless film, documentary producers and organisations have visited the group of men headed by Baba Mohammed that is in our eyes creating the wrong image and sending the wrong message to many people that abducting a wild animal to generate money from street performances is OK?
As explained its not just hyena’s that are taken from the wild and held in solitary confinement. Baboons, reptiles, snakes and small monkeys are also removed illegally from the wild. Furthermore the animals are also sold on to individuals within the communities as “pets” or as seen in the image below killed for meat to feed the locals.
Image: Hyena meat carcass and Hyena boy with muzzled hyena.
Yahaya one of the Nigerian, Lagos “hyena men” was quoted as saying “Any animal that people want, we can get for them,’ said Yahaya, who claims that they have supplied hyenas, pythons and other animals to zoos in Nigeria, Cameroon, Burkina Faso and Benin. ‘A mature hyena is sold for one hundred and fifty thousand naira, but a cub is more expensive at two hundred and fifty thousand naira. This is because a cub can be trained. An adult baboon goes for fifteen thousand naira, a young one for eight thousand. A python goes for eight to ten, depending on the size.’”
What has turned in to a street performing activity to make money to “allegedly” feed the impoverished has clearly been heavily exploited too. Capturing these stunning animals from the wild to perform or to sell on as meat or pets is wrong and any film production team that honestly believes this is totally OK are foolish and supportive of animal captivity, abuse and, exploitation.
The entertainers have also been accused by the Nigerian police of using the animals to threaten or intimidate members of the public into parting with money or possessions. In June 2004 a report in Lagos newspaper This Day claimed that an armed ‘gang who used a hyena and a monkey to rob their victims’ had a shootout with police. The report can be read below:
June 2004: Four armed man suspected to be from the group “hyena boys” held up a bank with baboons and hyenas.
Four armed gang who used a hyena and a monkey to rob their victims in Katsina State have been arrested by the police after a gun duel in Bichi, headquarters of Bichi Local Government of Kano State. According to a statement made available to newsmen in Katsina, the robbers who were seven in number went to Kankia market in Kankia Local Government of Katsina State to display with the animals while they robbed their victims of N66,000 during their operation.
Shortly after their operation, the statement added, the robbers took to their heels and they were chased by the police down to Bichi in Kano State where they engaged the police in a gun battle which led to the death of two of the robbers. During the battle with the police, the gang let off the hyena and monkey to fight with the police during which the animals bit one of the policemen who is now lying critically ill at the Katsina General Hospital.
Two of the robbers were killed while four of them arrested on the spot. The police had however killed the two animals during the fight in Bichi. Meanwhile, two robbers have been arrested by the police in Funtua for allegedly burgling the home of the former Minister for Special Duties during the Abacha administration in the country Alhaji Wada Nas.
The hyena boys are known to deal heavily in narcotics which the film crew producer Tarryn Crossman confirmed on visiting the hyena boys back in 2014. Tarryn Crossman stated that on entering the camp they walked into a large camp populated with many people and cannabis laying everywhere. Tarryn Crossman’s own words “We thought we were going to die”.
Captive cruelty and abuse:
For years International Animal Rescue Foundation Africa has documented on animal abuse and captive cruelty however, nothing can be more cruel and abusive than this. Abducting wild animals from their natural habitat with vicious dogs, using hypnotic medications to subdue the animals and beating the animals should they not do what their masters demand. It really baffles us as to why any such film or press agency would even document on such so called traditions knowing their abuse that goes on within camp and outside of camp.
Wild animals in captivity are often anxious about being cooped up. And the stressors of social animals can sound strikingly similar to the popularity concerns of high school girls. Mark Wilson, a neuroscientist at Yerkes National Primate Research Center of Georgia’s Emory University, studies captive female rhesus macaque monkeys, housed in groups as they would live in the wild. The monkeys naturally form a hierarchy with some females dominating others, and subordinates enduring harassment and a general lack of control.
Furthermore and even more worrying is the sheer fact the hyena boys have not tamed wild caught adult hyenas at all. The only thing stopping these dangerous carnivores from ripping their owners to shreds are illicit “unknown” medications that help to subdue the animal and take its inhibitions away therefore doing everything the owner or owners bark at the hyena or other animals. I
have included two images for you to clearly evaluate from research. One depicts an non-muzzled adult hyena and a Tiger from the repulsive Tiger Temple. Both hyenas and tigers are dangerous animals of which their natural instincts are to hunt and be predatory. I have searched in vain for as many images as possible depicting non-muzzled hyenas from the hyena boys camp however, to no avail.
Image (1) and (2) Drug induced state – Subdued Hyena and Tiger.
As one can quite clearly see both tiger and hyena are being man-handled. Neither animals would if not drugged take this abusive treatment for very long before lashing out and seriously harming the owner[s]. Which has led us to believe since Peter Hugo first documented on the hyena boys, the hyenas are clearly drugged with either cannabis that was witnessed at the camp in 2014 by film producer Terryn Crossman or heroin. Furthermore individuals from the Australian organisation known as (Cee4life) have been quoted as witnessing cannabis being fed into Tiger food and possibly Sativex, a liquid cannabis tincture.
Further research and accounts from the hyena men have generally stated that hyenas make very good pets and as they are related to dogs they’d be the ideal candidate for home security. Furthermore my research conducted last year of which I located a earlier video of the hyena men stating “hyenas are the new black mans dogs, pit bulls are for sissies”. So, lets debunk this. Firstly hyenas are nowhere near related to dogs. Hyenas are actually more related to cats. Keeping hyenas as pets is considered the “new image” within Nigeria however, do hyenas actually make good pets?
Although a few people in Africa and Asia find very young hyenas in nature and raise them as pets, these animals generally appear to be extremely unhappy as “domestic companions” as adults, and must often be kept muzzled at all times so that they do not harm people or property One only has to view the videos above that clearly illustrates their unhappiness at being chained and muzzled. A muzzle prevents the hyenas from being able to groom itself properly.
As spotted hyenas need several years of practice to become proficient hunters, and as they are deprived of this practice when reared as pets, it is effectively a death sentence for a captive-reared hyenas to be released into the wild. In addition, pet hyenas cannot be released for fear that they might transfer new pathogens from captive environments into the wild. Upon reaching adulthood, many “pet” hyenas must therefore be euthanized.
I have researched many so called traditions and cultures over the years involving humans and wild animals removed from their natural habitat to be used in street or circus performances or domesticated as pets. Never within my entire career have I yet to locate any real evidence that indicates large predators, monkeys or apes are suited to domestication or take to being used as performing animals. Large predators, monkeys and apes belong in the wild and not within a human controlled environment. It is therefore in my own expert opinion the Nigerian Government must act to firstly ban such cultures and remove these animals either placing them into a more suited human controlled reserve or, unfortunately euthanizing them immediately. We as humans do not have the rights to wander into any animals natural habitat to abduct and then exploit for monetary greed. We are playing with fire here and opening Pandora’s box furthermore to virus’s jumping from animal to human. 75% of all known virus actually derive from animals.
Thank you for reading.
Dr Jose C. Depre
Environmental and Botanical Scientist.
International Animal Rescue Foundation (Africa, Europe, Canada, America, Asia, South America).
Hon Mrs. Laurentia Laraba Mallam Minister of Environment
Hon Dr. Akinwumi Adesina
Hon. Hajiya Asmau Asabe Ahmed
Hon. Arc. Sonny S. T. Echono, fnia
Hon. Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, Nigeria’s Minister of Health
GOVERNMENT OF NIGERIA.
Re: Nigerian Pet Meat Trade:
The Nigerian pet meat trade and culture has been responsible for many deaths this year and previous years from rabies and other viral diseases passed on from dogs and cats slaughtered in the pet meat trade. Pet meat traders and market sales-people continue to place their own lives and the public’s in danger via selling tainted, contaminated or diseased riddled pet meat. Furthermore the unsanitary conditions that pet meat, either dogs or cats are slaughtered within, cooked or contained for public consumption have led to wide outbreaks of food poisoning this year and past – some of these cases have led to the deaths of those consumers.
The majority of Nigerians look down on this form of food culture of which view felines and canines as companion pets. However the trade still continues, and within the last few years we have witnessed traders openly killing peoples pets either stolen within the local states or illegally trafficked from Niger into Nigeria in the most appalling conditions. Most of these dogs and cats never make it alive into Nigeria if trafficked from Niger. Their bodies cramped into tiny holding cages on the back of dirty wagons they suffer agonizing pain, heatstroke, dehydration, crushing injuries from pets placed on top of them -these-being just some of the many abuses witnessed. International Animal Rescue Foundation Africa can now confirm that over 1.2 million dogs and cats are killed for the meat trade every year alone in Nigeria which proves this trade a deadly one at that is one of the largest on the planet and inline with some Asian pet meat traded – however still rarely documented on.
While we recognize animal abuse cases as serious we must also continue to address the case of rabies that sees over 60,000 people a year die from the rabies virus. Studies of Abia State in the south-eastern part of Nigeria whose native population consumes dog meat as part of the traditional diet, detected the rabies virus in the saliva and brain tissue of 5% of slaughtered dogs, the Global Alliance for Rabies Control (GARC) reported on.
The study, by Nigerian researchers published in ISRN Veterinary Science, was carried out in eight dogs slaughtering outlets within four Local Government Areas of the State for the determination of rabies antigen in the saliva and brain of apparently healthy dogs slaughtered for human consumption. What they found was after testing (The saliva was subjected to rapid immune-chromatographic test (RICT) while direct fluorescent antibody test (DFAT) was carried out on the brain samples) samples of apparently healthy dogs slaughtered for human consumption, 5% tested positive for rabies antigen with the use of both tests.
None of the butchers in this study were previously vaccinated against rabies, although majority of them (94.7%) were previously bitten during the course of slaughtering. Following dog bite, majority of the butchers sought traditional method of treatment ( using traditional leaves and teethes of the offending dog, which is burnt to aches, mixed with native gin; part is given to the victim to drink and vomit while the rest is applied at the site of bite), as against proper medical care, a practice which will further complicate the problem as none of the methods used have been tested to be effective.
The GARC reports, because dog meat is habitually consumed, and local butchers are unable to screen out infected animals and remove them from the food supply, the handling of infected dog meat may have implications on regional public health. Furthermore tourists that visit the country sampling the local tropical delicacy are also placed at risk from death and/or disease.
There is potential for virus transfer if fluids or nervous tissues of infected animals come into contact with breaks in the skin before the meat is cooked.
The researchers conclude that the presence of rabies in apparently healthy dogs slaughtered for human consumption in Abia State signifying its endemicity as it is in other states where studies have been conducted. This study also revealed the practices of dog slaughtering as a possible source of exposure to dog meat processors in Abia State. Hence mass enlightenment program for dog meat processors, consumers, and children in the state is highly recommended.
Rabies is a viral disease that is transmitted through the saliva or tissues from the nervous system from an infected mammal to another mammal. Rabies is a zoonotic disease. Zoonotic diseases can pass between species. Bird flu and swine flu are other zoonotic diseases. The rabies virus attacks the central nervous system causing severely distressing neurological symptoms before causing the victim to die.
Rabies is the deadliest disease on earth with a 99.9% fatality rate. While such a fatality rate is clearly understood we question again why the government of Nigeria continues to allow traders to place not only Nigerian local citizens in danger of death but also those visiting the country and African citizens visiting from neighboring African countries.
Butchers take few precautions around symptom-free dogs prior to slaughter, using their bare hands to muzzle animals without using adequate protection against bites, potentially placing butchers at high risk for contracting rabies. A recent rabies outbreak in neighboring Cross Rivers State in Nigeria this year again claimed the lives of 8 people who suffered dog bites, showing that rabies is a growing regional problem.
International Animal Rescue Foundation Africa and Say No To Dog Meat.Net have amassed over 40,200 signatures to date calling on the Minister of Environment, Minister of Public Health, Minster of Agriculture and Food and Governors of surrounding Nigerian States to now impose a ban on the sale, slaughter and trafficking of pet meat immediately to preserve human life, control the increasing menace of rabies and reducing animal abuse.
While we recognize dog meat joints within Nigeria as being established for “medicinal purposes” such as 1. to make men stronger, 2. to increase male impotence, 3. to ward of bad spirits, 4. to heal disabled children of their disabilities and more there is to date no proven evidence that has indicated or even shown that pet meat can cure such illnesses or disabilities. Furthermore by stating in chop joints or “404” joints that pet meat holds medicinal powers it only confuses the public more into believing such lies thus placing human life in danger significantly.
International Animal Rescue Foundation Europe has since September 2104 began working with Japanese Food and Alternative Medicine Researchers that has been provided dead dog and cat meat purchased from the markets in Lagos state and shipped to the independent research team. The team has been instructed by our Environmental Team to conduct research on any such medicinal properties and to exhaust every possible examination and study that either proves pet meat is medicinal or not.
We hope to have within our hands for public disclosure the full research papers within the next six months. Finally International Animal Rescue Foundation Great Britain have liaised and asked scientists from East Anglia, United Kingdom to conduct a more in-depth study of which have been instructed to locate whether dog meat is tainted with pharmaceutical properties to fool individuals into believing pet meat has active working properties.
This same type of public trading in animal parts is seen within Viet Nam and China where Rhinoceros horn is infused with – say – Viagra of which when the the public (mainly men) purchase Rhino horn and use it they are in the belief that the horn really has increased male erectile dysfunction syndrome. While there is little evidence to back such claims up with regards to the pet trade within Nigeria we have already proven and witnessed countless times Anti Malaria drugs found within dog meat in Zimbabwe – dog meat is then palmed of as a miracle cure aimed at treating malaria when in reality traders are only selling tainted dog and or cat meat out of sheer poverty.
With over 40,000 signatures calling for the Nigerian pet meat to stop we publicly call on Hon Mrs. Laurentia Laraba Mallam Minister of Environment, Hon Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, Hon. Hajiya Asmau Asabe Ahmed and Hon. Arc. Sonny S. T. Echono, fnia Minster of Agriculture and Food and Minister of Public Health Hon. Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, Nigeria’s Minister of Health to now impose a ban on all pet trade. A ban that will see no killing, trafficking of dogs and cats to preserve human life immediately and halt the onset of rabies.
Public can engage the following ministers by copying and pasting the above open letter calling for an end to the trade. Lastly when concluded scientific research has reached us regarding pet meat and supposed medicinal properties this evidence will be passed on to the above named ministers and made public. We hope to see a trade ban imposed using our mission within the next five years.
Environmental and Animal Welfare Team
Copy and paste the letter above to the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development here – Please use this link contact form to send the above copy and pasted communication to the Minster of Environment Nigeria here and lastly please use this link to contact Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu sending the above copied and pasted email and petition to the top Minster of Public Health, Nigeria.
Members of the public can continue to sign our petition hereto by clicking on the petition picture that will direct you to our petition addressed to the above ministers.
In a city where animal activists are almost invisible, dogs are crammed into small cages and trucked into Calabar from North Nigeria, to the waiting hands of dog butchers who hack them to death for dog meat.
Nigeria has a booming dog meat trade and the city of Calabar is one of it’s biggest hot-spots, where dog meat is openly sold on street corners and eaten by a broad spectrum of people who refer to it as ‘4o4.’ Chunks of dog meat can sell for as little as a hundred naira (less than a dollar), while a whole pot of dog meat can sell for as much as N14,000 or $87.00.
In Calabar, eating dog meat is seen a way of relaxing for some people and they can’t see whats wrong with it. However, people in Calabar who are against eating dog meat say “It is inhuman to eat up a pet, especially a dog which can become a family member.” Dog eaters reply “It is something as old as our culture. Our forefathers ate dog meat and we grew up learning to eat dog meat and by all standards, it is ok”.
Dog eaters far outnumber non-dog eaters in Calabar where its pet meat trade is lucrative and no matter how many dogs they kill, there’s always buyers waiting to eat them.
Weekends are the busiest time for slaughtering and eating dogs, especially Sundays when people in Calabar like to get together with family and loved ones and relax and eat dog meat.
Interestingly, women in Calabar eat just as much dog meat as men. Throughout Asia, dog meat is eaten mainly by men and women are shunned from eating it for a variety of reasons, mainly because men believe dog meat boots a man’s virility and is therefore dangerous for women to indulge in.
Dog meat used to be restricted to certain areas in Calabar and was mainly served with palm wine. Due to clever marketing, dog meat in Calabar is now a mainstream food which is served like any other restaurant food, with multiple choices of side dishes and beverages.
Just like in Asia a few decades ago, dog meat has gone from being eaten secretly to chic restaurant food that’s accepted everywhere, thanks to some clever marketing by dog traders, dog butchers and dog meat cooks.
In the same way Saynotodogmeat.Net are fighting Asia’s dog and cat meat trade, we will continue to fight Africa’s cruel pet meat trade too. We won’t stop until the dog and cat meat trade is brought to an END in Africa and Asia.
Thank you for reading,
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