A ban on eating dog and cat meat in the UK has reportedly been blocked by the UK government out of fear of being ‘culturally insensitive’ towards South East Asian nations.
Ministers had drawn up a new criminal offence procedure for the possession of dog and cat meat in Britain, with former Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs secretary, Michael Gove, ordering the ban earlier this year, despite the practice being rare in the UK.
However, the Ministry of Justice has reportedly blocked the ruling, saying it would be ‘culturally insensitive’ of the Government to tell other nations what they can and can’t eat.
According to The Sun, animal welfare groups persuaded Gove to match a similar law regarding dog and cat meat in the US, saying it would send a ‘powerful message’ to countries where the practice is still popular.
However, the MoJ has stepped in to block the move.
MP Giles Watling, who was campaigning for the ban, said:
Dogs are our companion animals. We do not eat them, and that is a very important message to send to the rest of the world.
It’s not culturally insensitive because we’re not telling them what to do – we’re just telling them what we do.
We shouldn’t be worrying about that, so I was surprised that was the MoJ’s objection.
Officials from the MoJ also argued it would be difficult to implement and enforce the new ban, as the current law against transporting or exporting dog and cat meat already imposes restrictions on the practice.
Germany, Austria, Taiwan, South Australia and Hong Kong have already banned consuming dog meat.
Despite various regions in South East Asia banning the farming and consumption of dog meat, and Busan dog meat market being shut down for good, an estimated 30 million dogs are killed a year for food across China, the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia.
A number of MPs backed the UK ban, including former Foreign Officer minister Sir Alan Duncan, who called it a ‘disgusting habit’.
A MoJ spokesperson said:
We currently have some of the strongest animal welfare laws in the world.
The government is currently considering whether any changes are needed in this area in the UK and will set out any plans in due course.
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Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.