Scots pet owners take in dogs stolen for illegal meat trade

By Jackie O'Brien
BBC Scotland news

Media caption,
A Scottish woman imports a rescue dog from Thailand.

Pet owners in Scotland are adopting dogs saved by border guards after being stolen to supply an illegal trade in their meat for restaurants in parts of south east Asia.

While most canine lovers visit their local shelter to adopt a rescue dog, a Highland woman has just had her dog imported from half way across the world in Thailand.

Amanda Leask from Strathglass in the Highlands is one of a small group of women from Scotland who had their new pets flown into Edinburgh this week.

The dogs were saved from an illegal meat trade which would have seen them destined for human consumption in Vietnam.

Rescued from the back of a smugglers truck in March, just days away from death, the four dogs were eventually transported by air into Edinburgh to meet the people willing to give them a new life in Scotland.

'Someone's plate'

One of the dogs, Bliss, was found emaciated with distemper in a rusting cage crammed full of other dogs.

But her safe arrival proved too much for her new owner Amanda as she contemplated what the animal had been saved from.

"Ending up on someone's plate," she said. "It's barbaric what these dogs go through."

Image caption,
Amanda Leask with Bliss following the dog's rescue and transportation to Scotland

Tens of thousands of dogs are inhumanely smuggled out of Thailand to neighbouring countries each year where they are butchered for the illegal meat trade.

Edinburgh vet Heather Bacon was also collecting her rescue dog. After working at a shelter set up by the Thai charity the Soi Dog Foundation she has seen the suffering for herself.

She said: "There were almost 2,000 dogs at a shelter that was designed to hold only 400. The dogs used to be pets that were stolen to be transported across the border into Lao and Vietnam."

Some progress is being made to end the trade.

The Thai parliament is considering draft legislation to introduce new animal welfare laws and since the recent campaign started arrests of smugglers have been made.

Amanda, meanwhile, is enjoying life with Bliss.

She said: "It just feels so good to know she is safe now."