Thank you for those that have contacted me regarding the forthcoming debate on the international dog meat trade.

 

Due to a full Ministerial diary on Thursday I will be unable to attend the debate but I do support the Government's position to oppose the consumption of dog meat in all cases.

 

British Ministers and diplomats will continue to raise this issue with countries involved in these practices wherever appropriate. It must be remembered though that in the absence of international laws, norms or customs governing the trade and consumption of dog meat, the UK has no legal grounds to intervene against those countries where consumption of dog meat is regarded as normal practice.

 

I welcome the work that non-governmental organisations such as Animal Asia Foundation, the International Fund for Animal Welfare and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals conduct in Asian countries to protect dogs' welfare.

 

It is encouraging to read of evidence suggesting that changing attitudes are leading to a rapid decline in the traditional consumption of dog meat soup during the summer period of Boknal in South Korea and I hope that this trend will be replicated in other countries across the region, as can be seen by the actions of authorities in Yulin, China which has banned its controversial dog meat festival.