The threat of zoonotic disease and implications for tourism

The threat of zoonotic disease and implications for tourism

This is a sponsored guest post from Four Paws

Over 30 million dogs and cats are killed for their meat every year in Asia. FOUR PAWS investigations have exposed immense animal suffering, the theft of millions of pets to supply the trade, and the threat of zoonotic disease.

As well as being a public health risk, the impact of the dog and cat meat trade on local people can be devastating. FOUR PAWS has spoken with numerous pet owners in Asia who have had their pets stolen to supply the trade. Many involved in the trade also wish for an alternative livelihood and FOUR PAWS is working with slaughterhouse owners to help them find a way out.

Most recently, we helped transition the largest dog meat supplier in the Kampon Thom region, killing 3000 dogs every year, into a grocery store business. As part of the operation we rescued 15 dogs and worked with local partners, Animal Rescue Cambodia, to rehabilitate and rehome them. The slaughterhouse owner expressed remorse over killing dogs, and her desperation to get out of the trade. Given the recent announcement of a dog meat ban in Siem Reap, there was even more impetus. FOUR PAWS was able to help her transition into a more sustainable business model that also serves the local community.

But what does this mean for the travel sector?

For tour operators and their destination partners, such customer concern raises a difficult dilemma: to discount it, accept it, or try to do something about it.

Focused on addressing this concern and the clear public health risk associated with the dog and cat meat trade, FOUR PAWS International has already secured the support of 22 travel businesses since the launch of its campaign earlier this year.

These companies, including inbound and outbound operators from Switzerland, Australia, the United States, United Kingdom and New Zealand, and the Adventure Travel Trade Association have pledged their support for an end to the dog and cat meat trade on the basis of its inherent risks to tourists and communities, as well as animals.

For us, the welfare of animals is as important as the protection of local communities and the conservation of the environment as a whole. The entire team of the ICS Travel Group is delighted and proud to support FOUR PAWS`s initiative to protect dogs and cats from meat trade throughout our region.” ICS Travel Group

“ATTA stands with FOUR PAWS in their efforts to reduce the risks to tourists, local communities and animals associated with the dog and cat meat trade in Southeast Asia.” Adventure Travel Trade Association

As travel businesses look forward to the sector’s resurgence, public health and support for local communities will be on the forefront of everyone’s minds. Following the evidenced origin of Covid-19 in a live animal market, China banned the trade and consumption of various animal species, including dogs. Now, FOUR PAWS is urging the governments of Southeast Asia to do the same.  

FOUR PAWS is asking the international travel and tourism sector to demonstrate their commitment to #ProtectMillions of dogs and cats by pledging their support.

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