ISKANDAR PUTERI - An Umno assemblyman has come under fire for suggesting that stray dogs be rounded up and exported to South Korea for the dog meat market there.
"I would like to suggest that these stray dogs, maybe now we could not shoot them as it is cruel, but we could gather the animals and export them to South Korea," said Tanjung Surat assemblyman Datuk Syed Sis Syed Abdul Rahman (pic).
He said he was informed that South Korea slaughtered about two million dogs a year for meat, adding this could become a new revenue for Malaysia.
Syed Sis, who made the remarks during a recent state assembly sitting, said he had received many complaints from villagers about stray dogs.
"I do not know where I can channel the complaints; whether to the Veterinary Services Department or the local councils," he said.
Deputy Speaker Gan Peck Cheng interrupted Syed Sis in his speech, saying that his suggestion was very cruel.
In his response, Syed Sis acknowledged that it was cruel, adding however that dog meat was being consumed "and maybe South Korea needed more".
Animal rights group blasted the assemblyman for putting forward such an idea.
State Noah's Ark chairman Mariam Yusof said the idea was absurd as there were more humane ways of dealing with the situation.
"All animal shelters and animal-loving societies have been working hard to organise programmes to control the stray population from getting out of control.
"Sending stray dogs to South Korea just to be slaughtered is a brainless source of income and a cruel act," she said.
Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) Johor Baru chairman Jacqueline Gomez described the suggestion as "ridiculous".
"Even suggesting such an idea is already cruel enough. If he had done some research beforehand, he would know that the only way to control strays is through spay and neuter," she said.
Gomez said most animal shelters had their own subsidised spay-neuter services which had been proven to be able to control the stray population.
She also pointed out that the dog meat market in South Korea itself was declining.
A survey carried out in June by Gallup Korea found that 70 per cent of South Koreas said they would no longer eat dog meat.