AR-News: Saving dogs, other animals high on UK group's agenda

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Mon Oct 6 22:39:33 EDT 2003

Posted: 7:06 AM (Manila Time) | Oct. 07, 2003
By Marlet D. Salazar
Inquirer News Service

AN ANIMAL rights group based in the United Kingdom is banking on "unconfirmed 
reports" that dog meat is not fit for human consumption to boost its mission 
of eradicating the illegal dog meat trade in the Philippines. 

The reports point to a "certain bacteria" in dog meat that is harmful to 
humans, said Luis Buenaflor Jr., senior researcher of the Animal Kingdom 
Foundation Inc. He said a study was being done to support this claim. 

Validation of the claim could make things easier for the foundation, which 
has been working quietly against cruelty to animals in the Philippines. 
Initially the group's main focus was the dog meat trade, but soon it was running into 
other problems that were just as urgent. Now the non-profit, non-stock 
organization is also lobbying for legislation, or amendments to laws, on animal 
welfare as a whole. 

The foundation is affiliated with the International Wildlife Coalition Trust 
(IWCT), also based in the UK, which has been doing research and documentation 
on "dog issues" in the Philippines for 10 years now. 

Charles Wartenberg, a director of IWCT who regularly visits the Philippines 
to oversee programs, formed the Animal Kingdom Foundation. 

The foundation has helped file charges against illegal dog traders in the 
provinces of Pampanga, Bontoc, Benguet, and in Navotas town in Metro Manila. 
Rescued dogs are brought to the Manila dog pound. 

Another recent victory for the foundation came when Wartenberg went to 
Albuquerque town in the province of Bohol to ask the owner of a python to stop 
feeding the reptile live puppies. This undertaking was broadcast nationwide on t
elevision and was for days the subject of discussion among animal welfare 
advocates and activists. 

Buenaflor said Sofronio Sulitay, the python owner, was very cooperative. "He 
did not realize he was violating RA 8485 [the Animal Welfare Act of 1998]," 
Buenaflor said. 

After convincing Sulitay to change the python's diet, Wartenberg also gave 
him helpful advice regarding the care of his pet, and asked the London Zoo to 
send information on the prescribed size of a reptile's cage
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