November 20, 2020Lu Shegay & Zihao Yu

Cambodia Cools on Dog Meat as COVID-19 Puts Asia on Disease Alert


October 27, 2020

"There is no dog population management, there is no control,” by Veronique Chevalier, Epidemiologist at the Institut Pasteur du Cambodge. Siem Reap, a Cambodian province, first issued a ban on the dog meat trade in early July. The move came as the coronavirus pandemic cast a spotlight on the threat of zoonotic illnesses that spread from animals to humans, as well as the potential role of exotic meat. Cambodia is vulnerable because it has a large and mostly unvaccinated free-roaming canine population, with one dog for every five people, nearly half of canines in the country may have rabies. Approximately 600,000 people are bitten by dogs, and up to 3 million dogs are killed for food in the country each year.

Commentaries of IALA

The pandemic of COVID-19 has drawn attention to the threat of zoonotic diseases coming from animals. Although the origin of COVID-19 is still under investigation, it is likely to get other zoonotic diseases, such as the H5N1 bird flu in Hong Kong in 1997, the Nipah virus in Malaysia in 1999, and SARS in China in 2002. Dog and cat meat pose a huge danger to those catching, slaughtering, and eating those animals. The main health concerns for humans who eat dog meat or cat meat are rabies and other zoonotic diseases. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), rabies remains endemic in many developing countries in Africa and Asia.

Learn more about the health concerns of the dog meat trade.

Two More Bears Rescued in Survival Rescue Named in Memory of Those Lost in Recent Vietnam Floods


November 5, 2020

On November 3, the Animals Asia rescue team rushed to a bear farm in Ninh Dan Village, in Phu Tho Province to retrieve two bears who had been trapped by the bile industry for many years. The evening before the rescue the team prepared the rescue truck with two transport cages and all of the supplies needed for the rescue and in the early hours of the morning the team accompanied the truck to the rescue site in a minibus. The team arrived and assessed the situation. Although initially informed that one of the bears was male, it transpired that both were female bears who had been kept in cages in a shed with little sunlight or ventilation on the property for up to 20 years.

Despite the fact that extracting bile from bears has been illegal in Vietnam for decades, the sign at the front of the property clearly identified the property as a bile farm, and these bears have no doubt been subject to the repeated, regular, painful extraction of bile over much of their lives.

The bears, who have been named Storm and Torrent by their rescuers in acknowledgment of the devastating floods recently causing such loss and suffering to so many people in Vietnam, needed to be anesthetized to be removed from their cages.

Storm and Torrent will spend 45 days in quarantine at the sanctuary, before being moved into dens with access to outdoor areas, and eventually, they will be integrated into the existing population of bears in our care. In 2017 Animals Asia signed an exclusive MOU with the Vietnamese government to completely end bear bile farming in the country.

Commentaries of IALA

The protection of wild animals in Vietnam is regulated by the Government Decree 32/2006/ND-CP; the Law on Forest Protection and Development, which prohibits illegal hunting, shooting, catching, trapping, caging, or slaughtering forest animals, illegal transportation, process, advertisement, trade, use, consumption, storage, export, or import of forest animals without an appropriate permit; and the Law on Biodiversity of the XII National Assembly of Vietnam prohibiting hunting, fishing, and exploiting wild species in specially protected areas, except for scientific research. A bear is not under a typical farmed animal category, however, those practices mentioned above indicate that in that particular case, they have been used as livestock. Farmed animals protection is regulated by the Law on Animal Husbandry, which prohibits the ill-treatment of livestock in rearing, slaughter, transport, and scientific research. It does not specify any regulations with regard to rearing pigs, broiler chickens, egg-laying hens, and dairy cattle. But the Law on Animal Health includes pets and livestock, and that they shall be taken care of, treated humanely, and have minimized pain and fear.

See our blog to learn more about the protection of animals in Vietnam.

Newly Discovered Primate in Myanmar 'Already Facing Extinction'


November 11, 2020

In a rare find, scientists have identified a new species of primate, a lithe tree-dweller living in the forests of central Myanmar. The Popa langur – named for an extinct volcano home to its largest population of about 100 individuals – has been around for at least a million years, according to a study detailing the find, published in Zoological Research. But with only 200 to 250 left in the wild today, experts will recommend that the leaf-eating species be classified as "critically endangered". Throughout its range, the lithe monkey with chalk-white rings around its eyes is threatened by hunting and habitat loss.

The first evidence of the new species was found not in the wild but in the backrooms of the London Natural History Museum, where a genetic analysis revealed that specimens gathered more than a century ago when Burma was a British colony were something new. There are more than 20 species of langur in the world, several of them critically endangered. At least two dozen primates have been discovered since the beginning of the century, many through genetic analysis revealed that species similar in appearance were in fact distinct.

Commentaries of IALA

The Popa langur is one of a species of primates and is believed to be found only in Myanmar. In Myanmar, the Protection of Wildlife and Conservation of Natural Areas Law was passed in 1994, but in 2018, the law was replaced by the Protection of Biodiversity and Protected Area Law that is aimed at regulating trade of wildlife, protecting endangered wild species of animals and plants, conservation of wildlife, etc. Chapter V provides the regulation of protected wild animals and wild plants, which include completely protected wild animals, normally protected wild animals, and seasonally protected wild animals.

Caspian Seal is Now Listed in the Red Book of Kazakhstan


November 13, 2020

A Government decree was signed on November 13 providing to include the Caspian Seal in the Red Book of Kazakhstan. This Decree comes into force after 10 calendar days after the day of its official publication.

Earlier the video was released on the internet with people beating a seal with sticks and rocks in the Mangistau region. The police later identified all participants seen on the video, however, they were not punished.

Commentaries of IALA

The Caspian seal is a unique animal and can only be found in the Caspian Sea bordered by Kazakhstan, Russia, Turkmenistan, Iran, and Azerbaijan. Their population was estimated to be 1 million, but the situation is now different. The population of Caspian seals has decreased by almost 90% by both human activities and natural factors. Listing this species under the Red Book of Kazakhstan gives them legal protection under the Law on Protection, Reproduction, and Usage of Fauna.

See our blog to learn more about the protection of animals in Kazakhstan and in other countries of Central Asia.

More Bears Rescued from Local Bear Bile Farms in Vietnam


November 14, 2020

Seven Asiatic black bears were released from two different bear bile farms in the southern province of Binh Duong on November 13, after bear owners have agreed to free them from cramped cages to live a better life at rescue centers. All seven bears are now on their way to the bear sanctuary in the northern province of Ninh Binh. From the beginning of October, a total of 15 bears have been transferred from bear bile farms to rescue centers, including six more bears delivered in October and two others transferred on November 3 besides the seven from Binh Duong.

Commentaries of IALA

The number of bears in farms for bile decreased by 90% from more than 4,300 in 2005 to less than 400 with the efforts of government, law enforcement agencies, the community and a number of NGOs in Vietnam, and many bear owners have decided to transfer their bears to rescue centers in recent years.

Bear bile farming has been illegal in Vietnam since 1992 but the enforcement remains weak. In 2017, an agreement was reached between Animals Asia and the Vietnamese government to end Vietnam’s bear bile industry and rescue all bears before 2022.

Learn more about bear bile farming here.

Animal Advocacy Conference Asia 2020 was Held Online


November 15, 2020

The online conference Animal Advocacy Conference Asia was held by Animal Alliance Asia which is “a group of dedicated anti-speciesist and nonviolent animal advocates across Asia, with the vision of creating a just world free of animal exploitation”. The involved activists and organizations on the conference were from different jurisdictions such as India, Pakistan, mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, and Indonesia, etc. The topics included veganism movement, captive animal industry, ecology of social movement, shark conservation, animal rights movement, food movement, cage-free, and international cooperation.

Commentaries of IALA

Veganism and the farmed animal protection have the same goal in common to reduce and stop the cruelty in the production process and to improve the basic welfare of the farmed animals. The first Animal Advocacy Conference is great in the circumstance of the pandemic of the COVID-19 to address the connection be. All methods can be used to help the farmed animals, including finding plant-based food alternatives, improving welfare through law and policy.

For more information on animal law and policy in Asia, please join the Alliance for Animal Law of Asia (AALA).

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