A truck filled with nearly 60 dogs allegedly meant for “human consumption”, mostly lifted from streets was intercepted near Koliabor in Assam’s Nagaon district. This incident comes to fore in the aftermath of a major meat scandal in Kolkata where it was reported that vendors were distributing tonnes of carcass meat into the market.
The incident came to light after the truck, a DI-207 Tata vehicle bearing registration number AS 09AC 3302 met with an accident with a Maruti 800 headed towards Tezpur. The driver and his helper, however managed to escape. Of the recovered dogs, five died after their capture while the rest, the police have claimed to have released in an agricultural colony 500 metres from Hatibondha area under Sulung police outpost.
The dogs were found to be kept in a cruel manner with their mouths tied and trapped in sacks. Shankar Raimedhi, Superintendent of Police, Nagaon District informed that Police have launched investigation in the case. Illegal transport of dogs has been an issue of concern for a long while. In most of these cases, the dogs are found to be in a state of intolerable pain or hunger.
In the absence of strong laws against animal cruelty, such incidents may reoccur in future as there is wide market for dog meat, considered to be a delicacy in many parts of Northeast India.
Another concern is how these dogs are released once they are recovered by the police. Sangeeta Goswami, chairperson of People for Animals (PFA), stressed that it needs to be checked if the rescued dogs are rehabilitated in good conditions. She further added that the prevailing market for dog meat has brought into its web many youths who trap these dogs in a cruel manner for the sake of earning some easy money.
Nagaland provides a prominent site for the sale of dog meat where the meat sellers, after paying Rs. 500- 1000 for a single live canine, sell the meat for Rs. 300/400 per Kilogram. Back in May 2017, around dogs meant to be smuggled to neighbouring Nagaland were recovered in Samaguri town by the Nagaon police. At that time also, the dogs were found to be in a deplorable manner with asphyxiation and hunger claiming as many as 23 lives. Such a flourishing market for dog meat has prevailed with the government repeatedly failing to enforce a ban on the selling and buying of stray dogs.