British stars speak out against dog-meat trade's cruelty

British stars speak out against dog-meat trade's cruelty

Thailand's Soi Dog Foundation has some of the biggest stars in Britain speaking out against the dog-meat trade in a video that starts with a warning about its "distressing" content.

Dame Judi Dench, Ricky Gervais and two of the stars of the international-hit series "Downton Abbey" - Laura Carmichael and Phyllis Logan - give voice to the "I Never Knew" campaign in the moving (and, yes, distressing) three-minute video that drives home what you probably didn't want to know. But of course you should know.

"I didn't know that these innocent creatures are crammed into cages so brutally that their bones almost break, so tightly that they can't move, and that they're trapped like this for the smuggled journey, which can take days," declaims Dench, the acclaimed star of stage and screen. Meanwhile you see footage of a truck loaded with dogs presumably on its way to the slaughter grounds.

"Many of them are stolen pets," explains Gervais, the comedian turned actor who hosted the Oscars a couple of years back. A lot of the pooches don't make it, of course, crushed, suffocated or dying of hunger and thirst along the way.

We've all winced at Western jokes about dog meat being on the menu in Thailand, knowing it's only eaten in far-flung places on the Northeast frontier, or else the mutts are scooped up for Vietnamese consumption. So we don't do anything about it. The Soi Dog Foundation wants us to do something.

"I didn't know about this unimaginable cruelty, and neither does the majority of people in Thailand," says Gervais. He notes that many of the dogs do get rescued and that shelters exist for them in the Northeast, but the government offers no funding, so the money can only come through donations to

The foundation has initiated a petition asking the government to halt the dog-meat trade and so far it's drawn 423,000 signatures. Head to the website and add your name - and you might also like to adopt a rescued pooch while you're there.


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