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Nagaland Govt places blanket ban on sale of dog meat amid social media backlash

Nagaland dog meat ban: The Nagaland Government has taken the decision amid mounting pressure from various quarters after some clicked at dog meat markets pictures went viral

nagaland dog meat banA picture from a dog meat market that went viral on social media

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  3 July 2020 9:04 AM GMT

Guwahati: At a time when controversy swirling around the consumption of dog meat in Nagaland, the state's Chief Secretary, Temjen Toy, has declared that the Government has decided to ban the commercial import and trading of dogs and dog markets and also the sale of the meat, both cooked and uncooked.

"The State Government has decided to ban commercial import and trading of dogs and dog markets and also the sale of dog meat, both cooked and uncooked. Appreciate the wise decision taken by the State's Cabinet", Toy wrote in a tweet, tagging BJP MP Maneka Gandhi, and Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio in the tweet.

This Cabinet decision has come at a time when the image of dogs tied up to be sold at Dimapur markets surfaced online on social media, causing a massive outcry among netizens. In the ensuing days, several animal rights organizations have expressed their opposition to the slaughter of dogs for their meat.

Pritish Nandy, a prominent poet and former Rajya Sabha MP, took to Twitter, urging his followers to join a movement to ban the sale and consumption of dog meat in Nagaland markets. "This is urgent. You can help make history by sending an email tonight to saying Nagaland must stop dog markets, dog restaurants, and smuggling of dogs into the state. Eating dog meat is inhuman, not just illegal. The issue comes before the cabinet tomorrow", he wrote in a post.

Recently, the Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations (FIAPO) has urged the state government to immediately ban the sale of dog meat, which sells for roughly Rs. 200 in the market (translating to around Rs. 2000 per animal).

FIAPO legal manager Varnika Singh wrote to Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio with "deep concern", "shock" and "horror" at recent images that have emerged from animal bazaar markets in Dimapur where dogs are seen tied up in sacks, waiting at a wet market, for their illegal slaughter, trade, and consumption as meat.

Dog meat is regularly smuggled into Nagaland, where it is an in-demand delicacy, from the neighbouring states of Assam and West Bengal. According to reports, the dog catchers in Assam, who work for smugglers, get about Rs 50 for a single dog and the same dog when sold at a wholesale market in Nagaland costs approximately Rs 1,000. In the streets of Nagaland, dog meat sells for Rs 200 per kg which is roughly Rs 2,000 per dog or 40-50 times increase from the catchers' 'price', the FIAPO stated.

The animal protection body further claimed that the practice of selling dog meat is illegal and in complete violation of various laws such as the Indian Penal Code 1860. It further added that the muzzling of dogs and putting them in gunny bags, a practice adopted by the smugglers, is illegal under Section 429 of the IPC makes the killing of animals a punishable offense with up to five years of imprisonment.

The FIAPO has further cautioned that the transporting dogs and preparing and consuming their meat put individuals directly at the risk of contracting rabies

Although the consumption of dog meat is illegal in India, it is carried out in Nagaland and other Northeastern states, where dog meat is considered to have high nutritional and medicinal value. Recently, in its Animal Slaughter Bill 2020, the Mizoram government has removed dogs from the list of animals suitable for slaughter.

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