• Day 182: WELCOME TO THE PHILIPPINES – viagra anyone?

    Mar 23rd
    Manila: Congested, hot (sorry England) and lots and lots of concrete. The view from my hotel window as I wait to here about the dog meat trade rescue operation.

    Manila: Congested, muggy and full of concrete. The view from my 33rd floor window as I wait to hear about the dog meat trade rescue operation that looms on the horizon

    If you happen to be a midget with erectile dysfunction looking to give someone an electric shock then the red-light district in Manila is a good place to hang out. 

    There’s plenty of small-person wrestling, lots of cheap viagra for sale on street corners and you can even pick up a handheld tazer gun with which to surprise your friends.

    But, if you are out here with three vegans from various  animal charities looking to rescue dogs from the meat trade then it becomes something else: stifling, oppressive and hard to find fresh vegetables.

    I’ve come to the Philippines with the help of a charity called Network for Animals: a small, dedicated group based in London who amongst other things work tirelessly to stop the dog meat trade.

    I’m with Andrew, a South African, who is in charge of the charity’s operations and who himself has been on a number of successful ‘seizures’, intercepting trucks full of illegally sourced dogs bound for slaughter or raiding locations where they hold the dogs before they are taken to be killed. There are also a few other people joining us from some other charities.

    Everyone is vegan apart from me. I realise I am wearing leather shoes. I make a point not to eat bacon in front of anyone.

    Andrew Plumbly, in charge of operations for Network for Animals.

    Andrew Plumbly, in charge of operations for Network for Animals.

    Andrew – slim, gentle, articulate – is not the rambo type character you might expect to be in charge of holding up criminals and rescuing up to 70 dogs at one time but then his slight frame belies an incredible dedication that I’m learning is fairly common currency amongst the animal movement. He’s been on countless adventures in his fascinating career of saving seals, making undercover footage of farm abuse and generally shaking the boat of a world that is far too cruel to animals.

    ‘Yes, the dog meat traders might have guns, many people have guns here. But the police also have guns. They’ll be on our side so we’ll be fine. Just don’t get caught in any cross fire’

    He laughs reassuringly. I don’t feel reassured.

    I am on the 33rd floor of a hotel that rises above the smog.  Out there, past the rolling grey clouds on the horizon, I’m promised there are wild hills but also the dog meat restaurants to the north.

    Eating dog is outlawed in the Philippines and in the capital city of Manila its thankfully rare. The problem is, as it is in so many developing countries with corruption and an inefficient government, that the laws are not enforced. There are still pockets of the country where eating dog is considered a delicacy and where many people, young professionals, even the police, consume it as a supposedly ‘traditional’ dish that gives them strength.

    One of the most famous towns for eating meat is Baguio and this is where Andrew has identified 14 restaurants that secretly serve the food.

    Tomorrow we will make the 6 hour drive to Baguio and with undercover camera try and capture footage of dog meat being served illegally or the purposes of pursuing prosecution. In the meantime we are working hard to organise a seizure of a truck bound for slaughter – not an easy task with a police force that is unpredictable at best.

     

     

     

     



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    2 Responses to “Day 182: WELCOME TO THE PHILIPPINES – viagra anyone?”

    1. Good luck to all participating and stay safe! I hope the undercover operation will be a success.

    2. No, I don’t need Viagra. I only need a pocket full of hope and strength for you Martin to handle what you will face in Baguio. Stay strong.

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