New Delhi, Oct 26: Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi has written to DoNER Minister Jitendra Singh, requesting him to end illegal trade and consumption of dog meat in the north-east region and also sought the intervention of NIA in tracing traders indulging in drugs and arms trafficking.
The letter cites Food Safety and Standards Regulation, 2011 which doesn't allow dogs, cats and other animals to be slaughtered for food. The letter adds that dog meat consumption, therefore, is "illegal" and "cruel".
"I am writing to request you to please look into the blatantly illegal dog meat trade in Nagaland and Mizoram," starts the letter which was written earlier this month.
The letter also describes the brutal treatment meted out to the dogs while they are being smuggled. "In Nagaland alone, more than 30,000 dogs are illegally smuggled from neighbouring states in jute sacks where they have their mouth either tied our stitched shut.
These animals are starved with no food or water and brutally beaten to death before they are torched and sold as meat to consumers," the letter said.
The letter then talks about how the same set of smugglers also indulge in drugs and arms trafficking. "There is not only illegal smuggling and slaughter of dogs but also smuggling of arms and ammunition along with narcotic drugs, blatantly carried out by the same gangs."
"This is a serious cause for concern for the security of the region and I suggest that agencies such as the NIA (National Investigation Agency) must be asked to establish the persons involved in this thoroughly organised racket," Maneka wrote.
Attached with the letter is a survey in Nagaland carried out by Humane Society International (HSI) which estimates that at least 40 dogs per day and 15,000 dogs per year are sold each in Kohima and Dimapur.
One kg of dog meat costs Rs 200 here and the consumption peaks during Christmas, according to HSI. No such estimates are cited for Mizoram.
However, the letter mentions how Mizoram government had issued orders in 2007 to stop illegal trade of dogs but that has not been implemented.
Unlike in China or Korea, dogs are not farmed in Nagaland and are instead smuggled from neighbouring states.
According to Section 428 and 429 of IPC killing or maiming of any animal is punishable with a fine or imprisonment of up to 5 years and under Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 killing an animal or offering it for sale can invite a jail term of 3 months.