Dog Lovers Outraged by Reports of Canine Meat Sales

By Kyaw Hsu Mon 6 April 2015

RANGOON — Local canine lovers and senior municipal officials are outraged at reports that dog meat is being surreptitiously sold out of a number of street restaurants in Yankin Township.

Shop owners in the vicinity of the Kabar Aye Pagoda Road and Sethmu Road intersection say that the vendors are catering to laborers on a nearby construction project.

“I dare not eat it, and I don’t sell it,” said Ma Zar, a shop owner in the area. “Some shops are selling them, but secretly. There are some people killing dogs for meat and others taking dog corpses left from car accidents, cooking them and selling them to customers.”

Pyi Hein Taw, a 17-year-old Rangoon local, told The Irrawaddy he had taken it upon himself to investigate one of the shops.

“They were usually selling in the evening and at night to construction site workers,” he said. “Sometimes they sell it cooked and sometimes raw.”

The Irrawaddy visited shop owners around the construction area and confirmed the sale of dog meat at a number of establishments. One seller, who declined to identify himself, said that he had been selling smoked dog meat due to a shortage in recent days from his restaurant’s supplier.

“They said some of the meat came from Mingalar Taung Nyunt, and some from Pazundaung,” he said.

The restaurants appear to be servicing laborers from the Hoang Anh Gia Lai Group construction near the Sedona Hotel, a US$440 million development encompassing a hotel, commercial space and luxury condominiums, slated for completion in 2016.

Rangoon has a population of stray dogs running into the thousands, with locals in many streets taking collective care of local dogs. There is a general taboo against the consumption of dog meat across much of the country. News of the sale of dog meat in Rangoon this week prompted an outcry on Facebook, with users roundly condemning the practice.

Myat Thet Mon, owner of a shelter for stray dogs in Thanlyin Township, said she was appalled that people in Rangoon had been eating canine meat.

“It’s so brutal. They shouldn’t be ordering dog meat from street sellers, it is not legal and the government should do something about it,” she said. “I am so angry to hear this news,” she said.

She expressed concern that the government will decline to take the issue seriously, given recent campaigns to poison and kill stray dogs living on the streets of Rangoon.

Khin Hlaing, a western district member of the Yangon City Development Committee (YCDC), said that municipal authorities has not issued and licenses for butchers to sell dog meat in Rangoon.

“They absolutely should not do it,” he said. “We will take serious action if it is true. I know that the YCDC has taken action against stray dogs in the past, but this is another issue. Dogs are not for eating.”

He added that the YCDC would consider taking criminal action against the vendors if it was possible.

Pe Tike Aung, the Bahan Township YCDC chairman, which borders the location of the restaurants, confirmed that his office would investigate the street vendors on Monday evening.