GUWAHATI: The Nagaland government has decided to ban the commercial import and trading of dog and its meat. A similar measure was taken in Mizoram in March.
Nagaland Chief Secretary Temjen Toy on Friday tweeted: "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."
The decision was made hours after an animal protection organisation had written to Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio, Toy and others urging them to immediately ban the sale and smuggling of dogs and consumption of the animal's meat.
Dog meat is a delicacy in Nagaland and some parts of the Northeast, and considered a cure for pain-related ailments.
In a letter, the Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations (FIAPO) had urged the state government to immediately ban dog trade and the consumption of its meat.
"We are writing with deep concern, shock and horror at recent images that have emerged from 'animal bazaar' markets in Dimapur where dogs are seen in terrified conditions, tied up in sacks, waiting at a wet market, for their illegal slaughter, trade and consumption as meat," FIAPO legal manager Varnika Singh had written.
Dogs are regularly smuggled from Assam and West Bengal into Nagaland.
In Assam, the dog catchers, who work for smugglers, get about Rs 50 for a single dog. But the same dog when sold at a market in Nagaland fetches 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 a 40-50 fold increase from the catchers' 'price', the FIAPO had written.
The animal protection organisation said the trade of dog meat in Nagaland was utterly illegal and in complete violation of various laws such as the Indian Penal Code 1860. It said Section 429 of the IPC makes the killing of animals a punishable offence with up to five years of imprisonment.
"The trade of dog meat involves packaging dogs in gunny bags with their mouths either tied with a string or sewn shut which is a complete violation of this Act. The consumption of dog meat is a violation of the laws and hence, illegal. This calls for an immediate and stringent implementation of the laws. In a rapidly-developing country like ours, it is imperative that we accord equal rights to animals," the FIAPO letter read.
It also said capturing and transporting dogs and preparing and consuming their meat put individuals directly at risk of contracting rabies as it can spread not only by way of dog bites but also by handling and consuming infected meat.