Dog News | The Problem | Our Plan | Our Team | How Can You Help? | Contact Us | FAQs | Animal Welfare Links | Published Articles | Main Page | LG Main |
   Collection of Published Articles

 

FASTRACK
column by Freddie J. Farres
The Junction Regional Newspaper

May 31-June 6, 2003 - Kapihan sa Baguio-Benguet, What for? Doggone Issues
June 7-13, 2003 - More Doggone Observations
June 22-28, 2002 - Taken for a Ride
July 12-18, 2003 - Dog Eating - Is It Worth It?
November 8, 2003 - Nefarious and Fraudulent Activities of Charles Wartenberg of the IWC- UK, and His Cohorts Alleged to be Members of the Animal Kingdom Foundation (AKF)

 

Not Guilty Plea for Dubious Foreign Animal Welfarist
(As Court Denies Motion to Re-Investigate)

BAGUIO CITY- After almost a year of waiting, members of the International Wildlife Coalition of the United Kingdom (IWC-UK), headed by Charles Wartenberg appeared before the Baguio City Metropolitan Trial Court Branch 1 for their arraignment.

British national Wartenberg, together with Luis Buenaflor and Winston Samaniego were accused of violating the Philippine Animal Welfare Act, the very same law they were supposed to implement.

It was alleged that Wartenberg's group during a raid of dog slaughterhouses conducted in June last year, the recovered dogs, which were promised by Wartenberg's group to be brought to an animal shelter, were instead killed through euthanasia, without first securing permission or clearance from a veterinarian from the city's Veterinary Office. Furthermore, the recovered dogs which were supposed to be used, as evidence were not even presented to the police, or the inquest prosecutor. The dogs were also said to have been transported by the accused outside the city without clearance and permit from concerned government offices. 

In the arraignment held last Monday, May 26, the accused's lawyer, Atty. Heidi Caguioa admitted in court that she advised her clients not to appear in the scheduled arraignment as she has assumed that their motion for a re-investigation will be granted. 

Judge Danilo Camacho of MTC Branch 1 however, denied the motion. A deferment of the arraignment was even scheduled. However, a few minutes after the discussion, Wartenberg's group appeared. They pleaded not guilty for violation particularly of Section 6 of RA 8485, otherwise known as the Philippine Animal Welfare Act. 

Last September 16, 2002, City Prosecutor Carantes signed a resolution ordering for the filing of the case at the Municipal Trial Court. The accused were made to post a bail bond of Php2,000.000 each.

Meantime, the National Meat Inspection Commission (NMIC) warned the public, not to buy dog meat sold in the market, as it did not pass through the routine inspection being done to meats such as pork and beef.

According to Dr. Roberto Umali, Director of the NMIC, meat that does not pass the NMIC may not be safe for consumption. Dog meat for instance, may contain disease-carrying organisms that may be transferred to the person eating it. The rabies virus he said, contrary to the common notion that it dies when cooked, is not at all one hundred percent accurate. There is still a possibility that it can survive even when subjected to over 100 degrees temperature.

Aside from that, dog meat may also carry internal parasites that can also survive under extreme heat. There were also few incidents of gastrointestinal, and lung or liver diseases, which could be attributed to eating dog meat.

Last month, the NMIC asked meat vendors in the city market to refrain from selling dog meat. Aside from being illegal, there is no assurance that the consumer is safe.

With regards to the Animal Welfare Act, P/Sr. Insp. Ricarte Marquez of the CIDG said that in order to fully implement this law, people should be dissuaded from eating dog meat. Moreover, our local officials should also show concern, and should lead in its implementation. Culture should not be a deterrent in implementing the law.

Dr. Umali said the Animal Welfare Act precisely respects the culture of indigenous peoples. The butchering of dogs is permitted provided that it is used for their religious rituals. The Act, has taken cognizance of the cultural aspect, but serving dog meat in restaurants is definitely not a part of culture and religious ritual, he said./Rimaliza Opiña 

 

(Published at The Junction Regional Newspaper, May 31-June 6, 2003 issue)

 

back to top

 

 
   
 

 

UK Based Animal Welfare Group Portrayed Luzon as Dog Meat Traders

Since October last year, a UK-based animal rights group, the Political Animal Lobby (PAL), has been instituting the arrest of violators of the Philippine Animal Welfare Act or RA 8485, particularly the dog meat trade in Baguio and Benguet.

From October to April 12, 2003, PAL in their operations assisted by the CIDG-CAR (and at times together with the Traffgroup-CAR, and once with the assistance of BCPO and National Meat Inspection Commission), has recovered 389 live dogs and 57 dead dogs, in their operations in La Trinidad, Tuba, and Camp 7 (Baguio), The recovered dogs were turned over to the Baguio City Veterinary's Office. This was admitted by the City Veterinary Brigit Piok, herself in an interview with her at her office.

The Prosecution

Corresponding charges were also filed against the arrested violators at the courts in Baguio City ; Tuba and La Trinidad, with the CIDG-CAR acting as complainants, and not the PAL which instituted the arrest and apprehension. PAL was and is also not assisting the CIDG-CAR in the prosecution of violators.

To date, out of 21 charged, 3 were acquitted, 7 pleaded guilty and were fined with a measly sum, 11 of them are still undergoing trial. Further, in all the apprehensions where the accused were caught illegally transporting dogs, all the vehicles were ordered to be released by the respective judges. In the case filed at the La Trinidad MTC, however, the CIDG sought for reconsideration on the release. In all the cases filed, PAL did not assist in the prosecution even in at least providing a private prosecutor to assist in the proper prosecution of the case and to see to it that the law will be executed to its maximum.

In the first recoded apprehension instituted by PAL on October 4, 2002, the subject being the popular Comiles Restaurant in La Trinidad, the case was filed at the La Trinidad MTC under CC#R-4827. The respondents' lawyer argued that the CIDG did not secure a search warrant and that the doctrine of plain view is not applicable in the case because the area where the respondents were arrested was covered with G.I. sheets. On December of last year, MTC Judge Agapito Laoagan, Jr. quashed the complaint. However, the judge reversed his order and agreed to an inspection of the site where the alleged crime occurred. The case is still on-going. The accused are represented by Atty. Hansen M. Binay-an of Molintas and Partners Law Offices.

On that same date, October 4, CIDG-CAR together with PAL and NMIC also raided the house of a certain Narcisa de Guzman (neighbor of Comiles), where 29 live dogs were allegedly recovered. The case is docketed as Criminal Case No. R-4828 at the La Trinidad MTC.

On November 22, PAL together with CIDG-CAR and Traffgroup-CAR apprehended a jeepney with plate number NRZ 431, at Taloy Sur, Tuba, Benguet. The said vehicle was said to be transporting 78 live dogs. Arrested were Rommel Zamora, Severian Ortega and Enrique Panlaque. The three pleaded guilty and were fined with Php3,000.00 each. The vehicle used was also released.

On December 21, a total of 91 live dogs and 14 dead dogs were recovered in a joint operation of CIDG-CAR, PAL. Traffgroup-CAR, and BCPO Station 8, at Kennon Viewpoint, Camp 7, Baguio City . Arrested were Enrique Panlaque, Generoso Cabrera, Leonardo Vergara, Rodrigo Maravilla, Wilfredo De Pedro, Nenita Medina and Christian Medina. The accused were transporting the dogs using 3 units of L300 FB Van with plate numbers UPD 580, ULB 736, and UFW 685 respectively. Criminal Cases were filed before the suspects at Baguio City MTC Branch 3 under Criminal Case Numbers 110854,110855, and 110856 respectively. They were made to post bail of Php3,000.00 each and pleaded not guilty of the offense. They are being represented by Atty. Hansel Duque. Trial is on-going. No private counsel appeared yet for the complainants CIDG-CAR.

On April 3, 2003, Leonardo Vergara, Rogelio Zapata and a minor were arrested by a team composed of Traffgroup-CAR, CIDG-CAR, and PAL. The three were transporting 39 live dogs and 20 dead dogs using L300 FB van with plate number URK569. The three posted a bail bond of P2,000.00 each. They are set to be arraigned on June 6. Meanwhile, the vehicle used was released upon the motion filed by the respondents' lawyer Atty. Benjamin Dampac, by RTC Branch 9 Presiding Judge Francis Buliyat, Jr. on April 8. The public prosecutor did not pose any objection to the release. The case is docketed as CC#03-CR-4849.

On April 12, Domingo Garcia and Ernido Lat were apprehended by CIDG-CAR and PAL at Lamtang, La Trinidad, Benguet. They were transporting 73 live and 7 dead dogs using a jeepney with plate number DGG 593. The case is docketed as CC#R-5109 at La Trinidad MTC. The accused pleaded guilty, but their Court Order did not indicate any fine imposed on the respondents. The vehicle was ordered by the judge to be released but this was objected upon by the CIDG-CAR saying the vehicle was apprehended twice in 2002 by CIDG transporting dogs. The issue on the release of the vehicle is still pending.

The Recovered Dogs and the Adoption Process

In a separate interview with City Veterinarian Brigit Piok, she admitted that all the dogs recovered by PAL in their operations were turned over to them for safe keeping. She also said that since PAL started turning over dogs to them, they have also started their adoption process. Out of total of 389 live dogs, around 30 have been subjected to adoption, around 20 are still in the pound and the rest have died. When asked about the rate of survival of the recovered dogs, Piok cannot give a figure, not even a rough estimate. She however said that the factors that possibly contribute to their low survival rate are the climate, the dogs were stressed, they have viral and bacterial diseases, they were suffocated while in transit, and that her office does not auction off the dogs recovered during police operations, instead they subject them to adoption.

The adopter is required to pay a total sum of more of less P390.00 for the dog's complete shots.

The adoption process, however, is observed to be flawed. First, the few adoption papers showed to The Junction, the adopters' addresses and personal circumstances were not clearly indicated. Further, Piok admitted that there was one day when several people went to her office to adopt. It was only lately, she said when she required the adopter to present barangay clearance and that they should have a dog house. It was not clear however if they conducted a background check and ocular inspection on the adopter and her/his residence before releasing the dogs. Further, the Veterinary's Office does not conduct tagging on the dogs so that there is no way of identification of the adopted dogs, as they were merely described by their color and sex. The office also admitted that they do not have a rule on how many dogs can be adopted by a certain individual and what could be the penalties if the adopter did not comply with the terms and conditions of the adoption. There was one adopter she said, who was able to get 3 dogs. They do not also visit the dogs to ensure that they are not abused. She said it was merely explained to the adopter that the dogs should be made available should the judge require that they be presented in the court. But how can they trace the dogs when they are not tagged and the addresses of the adopter are not complete and that they are even sure if they revealed their true addresses?

There is also no concrete measure to prevent the adopted dogs from going back to the food chain. As a matter of fact adopting a dog comes out cheaper and safer than joining the auction. In adoption, you get the dog with the complete shots while the dogs obtained through auction still has to be given the necessary shots at and additional cost. A dog can be had at P400 up depending on the size and the price raised by others joining the auction.

The City Pound has a total of 17 cages, with an ideal capacity of 80 to 100 at one given time. They can however reach occupancy as high as 170.

Not Enough Burial Area

The dead dogs, she said were buried at the Baguio Dairy Farm, but in cases where the dead dogs are at a minimum say 3, or 4, they are being buried within their office's premises. She also said that the meager open space in their office is “punong-puno na” saying further that at times they cannot dig a deeper hole for the dogs as there is already one underneath.

Donations by PAL

But despite this difficulty being experienced by the City Veterinary's Office why are they still accepting dogs that are recovered outside of Baguio ? Why do they not let the veterinary officer of Benguet or the Municipality where the dogs were recovered to handle the problem? Piok said that Benguet or even La Trinidad does not have a dog pound. Further, she said they cannot refuse PAL as the group had helped repair the pound. She cannot however mention even a rough figure on the cost of the donation. Further she said that PAL, every time they turn-over recovered dogs, donate rice, disinfectants, soaps, sardines, and medicine for the pound. Again, she cannot quantify the donations extended to them. It makes one wonder however, why PAL does not donate dog food to the pound, but gives rice and sardines instead.

The City Veterinary's Office receives a fund of more or less P6-M yearly from the City.

What is PAL?

But what is PAL, and is it really serious in putting a stop to the illegal trade? Freddie J. Farres, Executive Director of Linis Gobyerno, a group studying the illegal dog meat trade for sometime now, says the negative. First, he says, if PAL is serious, then as their name implies, they should see through the prosecution of the case, and see to it that the dogs recovered will be taken cared off properly. PAL should not leave the CIDG out in the cold in the prosecution of the cases, and they should exert all efforts to see through the survival of the recovered live dogs, and not just leave them to the care of the City Veterinary's Office, which he said is ill-equipped, ill-manned and is not capable of properly taking care of the dogs.

PAL or Political Animal Lobby was established as a direct subsidiary of International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) in 1991. PAL was described as a lobby group, and is believed by some as a IFAW's conduit to which it donated to political parties.

In 1996, PAL was criticized in the United Kingdom when in 1991 the “lobby group” donated almost 50,000 to the Labour Party (political party of Tony Blair) only weeks before Tony Blair announced he would proceed with a vote to ban hunting. Further, in 1997, IFAW was said to have donated 1-M to Blair's party. IFAW however, denied the claims and said it was PAL which donated the money. The Political Animal Lobby, (PAL) is headed by the veteran animal welfare activist Brian Davies, who is now based in the United States . Mr. Davies founded IFAW – which is now an entirely separate organization.

There are several articles in the internet about IFAW and Brian Davies. In one article it says “There have been numerous complaints about IFAW's accountability. In 1984, colleagues in Australia complained: “They raised a sum of three million dollars and we've been unable to get them to account for this money. Not one cent of it has been returned to our office, and we can't get them to account for it overseas. When people give money for charities they should have to be accounted for, they should know where it's going.”

“It appears that IFAW raise large sums to help certain `causes' – using pictures and information supplied by other smaller animal welfare charities – which receive a `donation' from IFAW. After the Kobe earthquakes, IFAW mounted a fund raising campaign, and donated an animal ambulance to the local welfare society after the Australian bushfires, another campaign was launched. A local source was able to identify only one small animal charity that had provided pictures of burnt animals to IFAW – it received a $10,000 donation. IFAW would no doubt claim that it publicizes events in a way that the small organizations could not have to do – but it certainly does not appear to lose out in the process.”

Search engines do not give results as to the website of PAL or Political Animal Lobby. However, a website is in place by PAL for the dog trade in the Philippines . The site's URL www.networkforanimals.org sweepingly describes almost the entire northern Luzon as dog traders and dog eaters. As to how the group came up with their data is not explained. The website also describes the Philippine government as not doing anything about the problem. But Mel Alipio representative of PAL in the Philippines , in separate interview seem not to be aware of the contents of their website.

Farres of Linis Gobyerno warns the law enforcers in the city and in the region that they might just be being used by this group in their money-making activity, as the arrest being done are being used to solicit more money from the weeping hearts of dog lovers abroad. What is more alarming is that during the raid conducted at Comiles restaurant, it was said that an international media, the Skynews has taken footage which is being broadcasted in the world wide web./B.A. Dawang

 

(Published at The Junction Regional Newspaper, May 31-June 6, 2003 issue)

 

back to top

 

 
   
 

 

Pinagkakaperahan Kaya Yung mga Asong Nahuhuli at Dinadala sa City Pound na Siyang Paglabag Rin sa Animal Welfare Act?

Hinggil sa nakaraang expose ng pahayagang ito tungkol sa mga aktibidad ng isang banyagang grupo (animal welfare group daw sila), ang Political Animal Lobby (PAL) at sa dahilan na isa sa mga advocacy ng Linis Gobyerno ang makita na isasatupad ang batas na Animal Welfare Act, minarapat natin na humihingi ng ilang nga karagdagang impormasyon mula sa City Pound na pinangungunahan ni Dr. Brigit Piok.

Nakalulungkot ang naging reaksyon ni Dr. Piok, sapagkat hanggang sa ngayon ay hindi pa niya binibigay ang mga detalyeng ating hinihingi Mayroon tayong hinala at agam-agam na marahil ay mayroon siyang tinatagong kalokohan o posibleng animalyang kasalukuyang nagaganap sa kanyang tanggapan. Ito marahil ay sa aspeto ng pag-dispose ng mga asong kanilang nahuhuli 0 na turn-ove sa kanila ng mga iba't ibang law enforcement agency.

Hinihiling lamang natin ang bilang (official number in writing) ng mga asong namatay sa poder ng city veterinarian. Kung bakit naman yun lamang impormasyong iyon ay hanggang sa ngayon, mula ng ating verbal request ay hindi pa maibigay sa atin bagama't ipinakita sa atin ang mga summary files, at ang gagawin ng lamng nila ay ipa-photocopy ang mga ito.

Mababasa ang liham na ating pinapadala sa kanya sa pahinang ito ang hinggil sa ating request. Kung saan kayo na mismo ay magkakaroon ng inyong duda.

Sa dakong ito ay nais lang muna natin kayong iwanan ng ilang komentaryo hinggil sa bagay na ito.

Ayon kay Dr. Piok ang kabuan ng mga asong nai-turn over ng mga law enforcement agency ay 389 live dogs, ang 30 dogs ay siyang napa-adopt, at ang 20 ay siyang natitira pa sa city pound, kung kaya't ang 339 ay mga namatay! ? Alam naman natin kung magkano maibebenta ang isang live dog, at ito ay mabibili sa range ng halagang P400 hanggang P550, depende sa laki ng aso. Kung halimbawa ay ating susumahun ang halaga ng mga namatay (as alleged by Dr. Piok) and kalalabasan ng halaga ng mga asong namatay ay 329 dogs x P450.00 (average selling price) per dog = P148,050.00 , may kalakihang halaga rin.

Subalit ang mas importanteng tanong para sa amin ay talaga bang namatay ang mga asong ito? At kung talagang namatay nga ang mga ito ay bakit ang daming namamatay na aso?

• Isa pang nakapagtatakang aspeto ng monthly impounding report ng city pound ay ayon kay Dr. Piok hindi kasama sa summary of monthly impounding report ang mga na turn over na aso mula sa mga law enforcers. Muli natin gustong malaman, kung bakit hindi kasama sa monthly impounding report ang mga na turn over na aso. Bakit, hindi ba na impound din naman ang mga asong ito?

Nais lang nating ipaalala sa kung sino mang ahensiya ng gobyerno (hindi po ito babala, paalala lang po) hinggil sa istilo ng Linis Gobyerno. Gawin nating halimbawa ang Office of the Ombudsman na siya mismong kinontra ng Linis Gobyerno (bagama't isa tayong CPU noong panahon na iyon) ito ay sapgkat hindi natin kayang makipagsabwatan sa kanila at lalong-lalo ng hindi natin kayang magimg isang ipokritokatulad ng nasabing opisina. Kaya't ating kusang loob na isinauli ang ating CPU accreditation, at lantaran na kinontra si dating Ombudsman Desierto, sapagkat hindi natin masikmura ang pagka-ipkritong gawain ng isang opisinag naatasan na maging number one graft watch-dog samantalang nauuna rin sa katiwalian at kadalasan pa ay yung sinasabing bantay salakay ika nga.

Ganoon din ang aming pananaw hinggil sa tungkulin ng City Veterinary's Office kasama rito ang tungkulin nila na manguna sa pagpapatupad ng Animal Welfare Act at hindi ang maging isang bantay salakay na sinasabi. Malinaw na isa sa layunin ng kasalukuyang Animal Welfare Act, maliban sa pagpigil ng cruelty to animals ay ang pahinutin ang pagkain o yung sinasabing mailagay sa food chain ang mga aso. Sana ay mali ang ilan sa ating mga hinala hinggil sa city pound. Subalit kung ang maging resulta ng ating research and verification ay binaboy at winawalanghhiya lamang ng City Veterinarians Office ang Animal Welfare Act, hindi tayo mag-aatubling sampahan ng reklamo ang mga kinaukulang opisyales na resposible sa pag-labag sa batas.

 

By: Linis Gobyerno June 13, 2003

 

back to top

 

 
     
 

 

Dog-Eating City

Baguio City and the rest of the Cordillera Region are facing another negative publicity. Yes, this is after the Cordillera Region was identified as the largest producer of marijuana in the country.

This time, Baguio City in particular is identified as the largest consumer of dog meat.

The issued on marijuana and dog trade (dog meat eating) are not new, however.

Between the marijuana and dog eating, the latter one is the oldest issue against this region, against the Igorots in particular, which has become known internationally, particularly in the United States when the Americans who discovered the Igorots called them dog-eating people.

The only difference between the pre-war issue on dog eating and the present, is that before our Igorot ancestors ate and butcher dogs for religious rituals. It is not being served as a delicacy; it is not a day-to-day pulutan. As matter of fact the butchering and eating of dogs (then) is treated with much respect. Our Igorot ancestors believed that dogs can guard our spirits (ab-abiik in Kankanaey dialect). That is why when one meets an accident or witnesses death, a dog should be sacrificed so that the spirit of the dog will guard the spirit of the living to prevent the occurrence of bad luck.

Even in our present law on Animal Welfare, the sacrificing of dogs for religious purposes is accepted and is not considered a crime.

So, what's the big fuss about the present dog meat eating and trading?

Here goes.

Baguio City has become the dumping area of dogs from all over the country. Some dogs and dog meat come as far as Southern Tagalog and Visayas, and are transported to this city and surrounding municipalities to be butchered. Majority of the dog meat end up in Baguio City 's restaurants and eateries, and the city market. Yes, selling and eating of dog meat has become an accepted norm in this city and the surrounding municipalities, which is a blatant violation of the Animal Welfare Act, considered a new law, passed in 1998. Dog meat eating has become a day-to-day thing, most of it consumed as pulutan. The sanctity and the religious rituals that go with dog eating have long been gone.

Worse, even our law enforcers and top government officials are dog eaters, and patronize the joints serving dog meat dishes. This explains the proliferation of the joints blatantly serving dog meat. This explains the proliferation of illegal slaughter houses for dogs.

Too bad, the officials of this city and the surrounding areas do not seem to care at all, and are not doing anything to stop this illegal trade.

When will we learn to respect dogs and really consider them as man's best friend?

 

(Editorial, The Junction Regional Newspaper, June 22-28 issue)

 

back to top

 

 
     
 



Dog Slaughterhouses Busted: British Spearheading the Arrest to Face Charges

BAGUIO CITY – Two illegal slaughterhouses of dog traders were raided on June 21, by the Special Operations Group of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Task Force Jericho. The raid was spearheaded by the International Wildlife Coalition (IWC), in a supposed attempt to stop the illegal dog meat trade.

The successive raids conducted in Baguio City and La Trinidad, Benguet resulted to the arrest of six individuals (including 1 senior citizen and 1 minor) dogs, cages and other paraphernalia.

The trading teams headed by P/Chief Insp. Eduardo Castillejos Jr. and P/Adelaido Celerio were able to catch the violators in the actual act of butchering dogs. The first team of the task force first raided the illegal dog slaughter house located at San Carlos Heights , Baguio City . The cramped unhygienic slaughterhouse yielded 30 live dogs. The second team which pounced on the slaughterhouse located at km 3, La Trinidad, Benguet, yielded 14 live dogs and 2 butchered dogs.

Arrested violators at La Trinidad, were identified as Severino Bugayong, and his grandchildren Joel and Arnold , ages 23 and 28 respectively, all residing at FE 096 B, Balili La Trinidad, Benguet. The three acknowledged to the raiding team that it is against the law to slaughter dogs, but they claimed, it is the only job they know. The old man Bugayong was caught in the act of killing the dog, while his grand children were caught red handed while on their way home after delivering what they butchered earlier. The two were carrying with them a bloodied plastic basket and sacks with some unsold dog body parts. Neighbors of the Bugayong family, revealed that old man Severino, had already been arrested some two months ago of the same offense. His slaughterhouse is a one room affair, where his supply of live dogs were kept in cages, kill the dogs with the use of wooden paddle, burn them with a toch, and chop them up. The Junction reporters were able to witness the killing of one of the dogs from across the street (minutes before the actual raid), where it was observed that he, Bugayong had hit the dog's head with a paddle at least seven times before finally bleeding to death. The slaughterhouse us unhygienic and the waste coming from it are being washed and thrown at the Balili River located right below the slaughterhouse.

The arresting team confiscated the live dogs. The dressed dogs, blowtorch and nylon strangle cord were tuned over to the La Trinidad Police.



Recovered dogs - saved?

Meanwhile, the two arrested at San Carlos Heights , refuse to reveal their identities to the Junction. Assisting the two is Marvin [not his real name] a 14 year old who was said to have been turned over to the Dep't of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), as he is a minor and is protected by the Child Welfare Act and Anti Child Labor Laws.

In an interview with Charles Wartenberg, Director of the United Kingdom based IWC; he expressed disgust, on what he describes as laxity of local officials in Baguio and La Trinidad in implementing the Animal Welfare Act.

Meanwhile this paper's editor, and some of the staff, brought up charges against Wartenberg, his group and his cohorts. They said that IWC and Wartenberg spearheaded the aid, Wartenberg and his cohorts, violated the Animal Welfare Act themselves. The Junction team were witnesses to the violation of Animal Welfare Act, when Wartenberg, a veterinarian (who refused to identify himself to this paper's editor, but was later on identified as Winston Samaniego, who is now based in Baguio City and Naguilian, La Union), and Wartenberg's staff killed the recovered dogs by means of euthanasia. The killing took place right at the crime scene (illegal slaughterhouse at San Carlos Heights ), which was not coordinated with the city authorities, such as the City Veterinarian. The 30 dogs (which were supposed to be used as evidence against the arrested violators) were not even presented first to the inquest prosecutor before they were destroyed. After the dogs at San Carlos Heights were killed, the recovered dogs at La Trinidad could have suffered the same fate if not for this paper's editor's intervention. These dogs were then taken alive from the slaughter house loaded in a truck together with the dressed and killed dogs, and later on learned to have been illegally transported to La Union, where they were supposed to be buried in a private lot, contrary to earlier pronouncements that they tried to pursue the truck and trace the location of a burial site in La Union but failed. No information was gathered as to what Wartenberg and his cohorts have done to the 14 live dogs recovered from La Trinidad.

In the Animal Welfare Act (R.A.8485) euthanasia is allowed under the following instances; (a) When a pet animal is afflicted with an incurable communicable disease as determined and certified by a duly licensed veterinarian; (b) When the killing is deemed necessary to put an end to the misery suffered by the animal as determined and certified by a duly licensed veterinarian; (c) when it is done to prevent imminent danger to the life or limb of a human being. None of the above was present when Wartenberg and Samaniego and cohorts started injecting the dogs with lethal drugs. Wartenberg claim that the drugs used for euthanasia were supplied to him by the President of Veterinarian's Association of the Philippines , a certain Dr. Enrico Carlo. Wartenberg and his cohorts also justified the act by saying that it is the best for the dogs. They said they could not bring the dogs out of the crime scene alive because the cages were big and had to be dismantled, so that taking the dogs alive might cause them to be able to escape. Initially, Suzanne “Babes” Llanera, Wartenberg ‘s staff said that the act was a spur of the moment decision, but Wartenberg later on contradicted the statement saying that the act was premeditated, that is why he has the needed lethal drug on hand. A veterinarian from the City Veterinary office was not even around to certify the necessity of killing the dogs. To make matters worse, Wartenberg even has the minor who was accosted by the raiding team to help in the mercy killing by instructing him to be the one to get the dogs from the cages, and hold the dogs still while they are being injected with the lethal drug.



Mr. Wartenberg seen here performing euthanasia on one of the recovered dogs.
The young boy assisting him was later turned over to the DSWD.

The Junction team is of the belief that Wartenberg is not sincere in his intentions to help to stop the illegal dog trade in the Philippines , but rather, is just after a big impact for his donors in the United Kingdom , by having one or two violators arrested. /Rimaliza Opiña

 

(Published at The Junction Regional Newspaper, June 22-28 issue)

 

back to top

 

 
     
 

 

The Dog Meat Trade in Baguio City and Cordilleras

Dog meat eating has been associated with the Cordillerans or the Igorots, even before the American era. In fact, Igorots were described by an American author in the early 1900's as dog eating people.

To date, every Igorot or Cordilleran is faced with that stigma; most especially nowadays that dog eating has become commercialized.

While Ilocanos and residents of the nearby provinces also eat dog meat, majority or almost 95% of the dog meat being eaten in the country is consumed in Baguio City and the rest of the Cordilleras .

But the dog meat supply in Baguio City and La Trinidad Benguet come from as far down the Southern Tagalog provinces like Laguna and Batangas. Sources also revealed that there are frozen dog meats which come as far as Mindanao .

The passing of R.A. 8485 or the Animal Welfare Act in 1998 did very little to help.

As a matter of fact, despite the law, restaurants serving the dish (dog meat) are growing in number, and are being allowed to operate by the local governments of Baguio and Benguet. In Baguio City and La Trinidad alone, there are about 20 restaurants and eateries serving dog meat as a specialty. This is aside from the other restaurants that have dog meat in their menu cooked as azucena or samlok (but not a specialty). A known restaurant in Session Road serves dog meat (samlok). Even local officials are known as dog meat eaters, who patronize these restaurants.

Since the passage of the law, there was no actual effort from the local governments of Baguio and Benguet to stop the trade. In fact, two of the thriving restaurants serving dog meat and maintaining illegal slaughterhouses are just a stone's throw away from the Benguet Provincial Capitol.

The apprehensions done by the police on those inhumanely transporting dogs for dog meat purposes are either accidental (in lieu of a traffic violation), or spearheaded by NGOs.

There were already pocket apprehensions in 1998 of motorists violating the law. However, it was only in the year 2000 when the Political Animal Lobby (PAL), a United Kingdom based non-profit organization, initiated a raid on dog slaughterhouse with the cooperation of the DILG's Task Force Jericho. The 2 cases filed out of the raid, however, were dismissed by the Court.

In the second quarter of 2002, another foreign based organization, the International Wildlife Coalition (IWC) – UK headed by Charles Wartenberg, also tried to initiate a police raid on dog slaughterhouses. However, Wartenberg and his cohorts ended up facing a case of violation of the law themselves, filed by Baguio-based group, Linis Gobyerno. The case is the first to be filed in the Baguio City Prosecutor's Office and in a Baguio Court . Linis Gobyerno has accused Wartneberg and cohorts of violating the Animal Welfare Act, when they unjustifiably subjected the dogs to euthanasia

Animal welfare cases going nowhere

Complaints regarding the illegal dog meat trade were never treated seriously in this part of the region. As observed with the turn of events in almost all of the cases that were filed in line with R.A. 8485 or the Animal Welfare Act, after pleading guilty, violators will just pay the fine, or pay the bail bond, and then they go back to their dog meat trading business. The records of the Baguio and Benguet Prosecutors' offices show that as of June 25, 2003, 18 complaints have already been received by their respective offices. 5 of which were filed at Tuba-Sablan MCTC, 8 at La Trinidad MTC, and 5 at the Baguio MTC. 

Out of the 18 cases 2 were dismissed while 7 are still on going trial. The respondents in 9 cases were convicted.

All those convicted, however plead guilty upon arraignment. None of those cases reached a full blown hearing. The violators were just made to pay the fine that ranges from P1, 000 to P5,000. Most of them however were meted with a P2,500 fine, a far lesser expense than pleading “not guilty” and having a lawyer to defend them. The latest offender who plead guilty at the La Trinidad MTC was made to pay a measly fine of P1,000. The judge's explanation for the ridiculous fine is because the respondent is a first offender. So far the highest fine imposed is P5,000, meted to a certain Severina M. Ortega, it being her second conviction for the same offense.

The heaviest penalty on the other hand was imposed on Enrique P. Panlaque. On his latest conviction, Judge Tomas Tolete of Tuba MCTC imposed upon him a penalty of 6 months imprisonment. Panlaque however applied at once for probation, which was objected by prosecutor Lilian Oliva. Her opposition which was received by the court on April 14, 2003 states that Panlaque is a repeat offender, because he was already convicted twice earlier on by the same court and by a Pasay City Court for the same offense. Aside from his convictions, Panlaque is also facing another case for the same offense (illegal and inhuman transporting of dogs) before a Baguio City MTC. The Judge's order on the same date (April 14) however did not make any mention of the points raised by Pros. Olivia.

If that is sickening there is more.

Severino Bugayong's residence cum dog slaughterhouse located at Km. 3, La Trinidad was raided for the first time on October 2000. Adding insult to injury Bugayong apparently was able to secure a business permit for his illegal activity, as evidenced by his business plate, numbered 0415. The case against Bugayong, who was 75 years old at that time, was dismissed by La Trinidad MTC's Judge Agapito K. Loagan Jr. Worse the confiscated items from his dog slaughterhouse such as blowtorch, knives, etc. were eventually released to him. On 2002, Bugayong was again arrested for the same offense. This time he pleads guilty.

As it is, the law is perceived to be taken lightly even by the Judges, based on the penalties they give even to the repeat offenders.

Further, in all cases involving illegal transportation of dogs in inhumane manner, the vehicles used were ordered to be released by the judges, some even before the case were decided upon. In one case at La Trinidad MTC the CIDG objected to the release of the vehicle claiming that said vehicle was used several times for the same illegal activity.

It would also seem that the judges or prosecution do not consider the recovered dogs as part of the evidence. Nowhere in the judgment of all cases, made mention of the recovered dogs, their whereabouts, their conditions, and how they should be disposed off. Further out of 542 recovered dogs since 1998, 381 were turned-over to the Baguio City Veterinary Office, 73 were allegedly brought to the Manila City Pound, leaving 88 unaccounted for.

It is worthy to note however, that all cases brought about by apprehensions initiated by NGOs, the law enforcers were left alone to prosecute the case. The NGOs (international at that) never extended legal assistance for the proper prosecution of the cases. In all cases that reached the courts, it is only the case filed by Linis Gobyerno which is being assisted by the group's private lawyer.

The law enforcers (in this place) themselves take this law lightly. In Tuba, Benguet for example, one known dog slaughterhouse operating since 1999, is just a few meters away from a Police Station, but the police never apprehended those involved.

In the Baguio City Market, dog meat is openly being traded, but nobody apprehends the sellers, not the City Licensing Office (under of the Office of the Mayor) which gives them business licenses; not the Market Task Force of the Baguio City Police Office. The first arrest conducted on the dog meat retailers, was on June 25, when a concerned citizen, by the name of Bythe Reed, went to the Market Task Force armed with a print out of the Animal Welfare Act (downloaded from the internet), and told the police to arrest 3 guys, who despite being warned, were blatantly selling dog meat.

But what can you expect from these law enforcers who are mostly dog eaters?

This is the reason why animal welfare advocates, think thrice before enlisting the assistance of the Cordillera based law enforcers for the raid and apprehension of the dog meat traders. It is a sad fact, that aside from PAL which taps the CIDG, others prefer the assistance of law enforcers outside of the Cordillera, which makes the entire process very costly.

But raid, apprehension, and the arrest of the offenders is the easiest part of the whole process of stopping the trade.

Freddie Farres, Executive of Linis Gobyerno said that that battle starts after the apprehension and arrest. There are the recovered dogs that should be attended to, and there are cases that should be handled by competent lawyers so that the violators will be meted with the suited maximum penalty.

While PAL has turned over its recovered dogs to the City Pound, Farres expressed his dismay on how these dogs were handled, as the mortality rate is a whopping 85%. Another group, the Animal Kingdom Foundation (in which Wartenberg of IWC also belongs), has claimed to have brought the dogs they recovered to as far as Manila City Pound. The court responsible for the case was never informed of the status of the dogs, maybe because the court never asked. In some apprehensions, there was no mention of where the recovered live dogs were turned over.

And while the law enforcers were left in the cold by the NGOs for the prosecution, the City Veterinary's Office (handling the Dog Pound) was also left with the burden of handling the recovered dogs.

Dog adoption

Dog adoption was never heard of in Baguio City and the Cordilleras until the end of last year, when the City Veterinary's Office started adopting out some of the dogs that were turned over to them by PAL and the law enforcers. Of the 389 dogs in their custody, 10% or 38 dogs were said to be subjected for adoption.

According to the City Veterinarian, Dr. Brigit Piok, the adopter is required to pay an amount of P390 for the dog's complete vaccination (Distemper, Hepatitis Parvo-Leptospirosis [ DH2 PL ] and Canine Parvo Virus [CPV]). Anti-Rabies is also being given for free. In a private clinic, DH2 PL + CPV cost P350 or P40 less than what the City Vet charges.

But there appears to be a discrepancy in the amount which was said by the City Vet that they are charging and the amount which the adopters claim to have paid. In a research conducted by The Junction (in coordination with Linis Gobyerno), those adopters from the Slaughterhouse compound admitted having paid a meager amount of P60. Others claim to have paid P200-390. All of them however, thought that what was given to their adopted dogs are just Anti-Rabies. Apparently, the other shots were not explained to them.

And while the adopters were made to sign an adoption agreement, it appears that only 2 of them complied with the terms and conditions of the adoption. One of the conditions is for the adopter to take good care of the animal and to treat it as their own pet and shall subject it for periodic inspection by any authorized representative of the City Veterinary Office. However, based on the research, it appears that the adopters themselves did not treat the adopted dogs as their own pets, because 4 dogs have died, and 2 were sold. There is also one adopter who, according to his neighbors, allegedly slaughtered the dog and ate it although he did not confirm nor deny the allegations. He however cannot give a straight answer when he was asked about the whereabouts of the dog. As to the “periodic inspection” as stated in the agreement, it can be recalled that in an interview conducted earlier, Dr. Piok openly admitted that they do not conduct post adoption monitoring. The adopters also confirmed this by saying that no one from the City Vet or from the PAL ever visited the dogs.

The agreement further states that the ownership of the animal shall remain under the adopter's name and shall not be removed or transferred without written permission from the City Veterinarian, which is again another agreement only in paper because some of the adopters claim that the dogs they adopted were brought to their respective provinces, but the exact addresses were not given. It is also a question how the ownership can be legally transferred as the dogs are not registered and are not tagged. The agreement also states that, the adopter shall report immediately to the City Veterinary's Office once the animal gets sick or dies. Based on the research, 4 adopted dogs died, 1 escaped but these were not reported. The other 21 dogs were not seen since some of the adopters are either not in their respective residences at the time of the interview or are no longer residing in the stated addresses. The neighbors of 10 adopters who are not at their respective residences, however said that they have seen no signs of dogs at the residences of the adopters.

Only one was seen to have a doghouse.

Out of the 38 dogs only 3 are confirmed to be alive and in good condition. These were adopted by a Korean couple, Sung Soo Lee and Huh Hee Kyung, and an elderly, Flora Armas of Loakan.

As it is, the dog adoption program of the City Veterinary's Office needs a lot of improvement mainly procedures and implementation.

It is believed that the adoption program of the City Veterinary's Office is an offshoot of the case filed by Linis Gobyerno against the Director of International Wildlife Coalition (IWC) in United Kingdom , a certain Charles Wartenberg, when he together with his cohorts “put down” or killed the recovered dogs thru euthanasia. R.A. 8485 is specific that the killing of dogs is allowed under certain conditions, but it should be done through the use of most scientific methods available as may be determined by the Committee on Animal Welfare. To date, the committee has not set the standard said “most scientific” method of killing the dogs.

It is also observed that based on the summary provided by the City Veterinary's Office the recovered dogs in the year 2000 and 2001 were not reflected. Court records show that in the year 2000, at least 5 dogs were turned over by PAL to the dog pound. As to how those dogs were disposed off, is still not clear, as they were not accounted for. /Bing A. Dawang

 

(Published at The Junction Regional Newspaper, July 2003)

 

back to top

 

 
     
 

 

Dog Eating - An Igorot Culture?

Last Sunday, October 5, a local paper (here in Baguio City) came out with an article practically justifying the multi-million dog meat trade in Baguio City and the Cordilleras, saying that dog eating is a part of the Igorot Culture.

The article came out just in time for the World Animal Day, which coincides with the feast of St. Francis de Assisi, the Patron Saint of Animals.

As an Igorot myself (and full blooded at that) I take offense to the claims in the article that dog eating is part of my culture.

The article quoted a certain Iskias Isican, (who is also said to be the curator of the St. Louis University museum) as saying there is a clear cultural basis for butchering of dogs, as they were butchered by Igorot tribes before going to war or to cure certain afflictions”. To make matters worse, the article made a generalization that dog meat is a regular part of the Igorot diet (again quoting Isican). Isican also traced the dog butchering for some 100 years, saying that in 1904, the American colonizers brought with them a few Igorot men and women whom they exhibited in St. Louis Missouri as heathen pagans, in which they were made to butcher a dog. Isican said that this proves that dog butchering had been part of the Igorot way of life.

Another disturbing part of the article is when a lawyer (who had been the defense counsel of dog meat traders) who is now a part of the Benguet Prosecutors Office, Atty. Hanzen Binay-an also allegedly questioned the wisdom of the Animal Welfare Act or the R.A. 8485, even saying that the law was lobbied by the British Government and citizens. He was also quoted questioning by the British does not respect the independent cultural practice of the Igorots.

First, as an Igorot, I vehemently do not accept dog eating as my culture. I was not raised to eat dogs, and dog meat is not a regular part of my diet nor has it ever been. I find it insulting that we Igorots are branded as dog eaters, not only in the Philippines but in other countries. It is a shame, and considering that Igorots are Filipinos, dog eating is a national shame.

While, it is true that in the olden years, Igorot tribes butchered their dog before going to war, this is because it is the belief of the then pagan Igorots that the spirit of the sacrificial dog will guard them during the war, so that they can emerge victorious. In times of tragedy, the family dog was also sacrificed to appease the spirits (anito) and for the spirit of the living members of the family. There is a spiritual significance to it. If you notice, the dog sacrifice always connotes bad luck, tragedy, or death. So that when a family butchers a dog (and the dog has to be the family dog and not just any dog bought from nowhere), that family is not into a feast, another they are either mourning in extreme pain, or they are involved in activity that has something to do with death. Definitely, dogs then were not butchered as drinkers' fare, or as a daily or regular part of their diet. If we are to strictly follow the spiritual essence of butchering a dog, definitely, an Igorot family would rather not have a reason for sacrificing their dog.

This is also the reason why dogs sacrificed for religious purposes are allowed under the Animal Welfare Act. However, it is also stated under the law that dogs killed for this purpose should be recorded and reported. Five years since the law was passed, and the Bureau of Animal Industy (BAI) has yet to receive a report from the Igorot elders on how many dogs were sacrificed for religious purposes.

Even if we follow (although not admitting) the dog eaters argument that dog eating is part of the Igorot culture, still it is one of those supposed part of the culture that needs to be changed. Headhunting was part of the Igorot Culture and way of life a hundred years ago. However that had to be scrapped because that is savagery, and that is no longer allowed by our laws – that is murder.

Moreover, as an Igorot myself, I know for a fact that years ago, Igorots do not have, as part of their language the manang or manong, or kuya and ate, as a sign of respect for elder members of the family. To date, it is still quite common in an Igorot family, for a younger member of the family to call his/her older siblings by their first names. However, at the passing of times, when Igorots were exposed to other cultures, they started adopting the use of manang and manong, ate and kuya. So that at present day, you will see more and more families using those terms as a sign of respect. In our family, it is my older brother, Donald who taught us to use manong and manang. Our neighbors were laughing at us then, but eventually, they followed suit.

This is adaptation. This is cultural evolution. We discard the bad ones, and we adapt the good ones from other cultures. Definitely, I would not want to remain savage and disrespectful.

So that while the dog meat trader may have been allowed before the Animal Welfare Act of 1998 was passed, it is definitely unlawful these days. Dog traders and those patronizing the stalls selling dog meat and restaurants serving dog meat, are not just violating (among others) the anti-fencing law as well. This is because most of the dogs being butchered here in Baguio come from Laguna and Batangas. You might be surprised that there are dog owners in Laguna who are complaining about their lost dogs. More often, the dog you are eating are either stolen, lost dogs, or simply homeless street dogs. /Bing A. Dawang

 

(Published at The Junction Regional Newspaper, Oct. 11-17 issue)

 

back to top

 

 
     
 

"The question is not, Can they reason? nor, Can they talk? but, Can they suffer?"

-Jeremy Bentham, philosopher

 
 
     
 


FASTRACK

column by Freddie J. Farres
The Junction Regional Newspaper, June 22-28, 2002

TAKEN FOR A RIDE

There should be an office whose responsibility it is to monitor foreign NGOs operating (doing business) in our country, perhaps there is one, although I would suppose that most of us would not know where to check and or verify on this foreign NGOs. Very often even, a lot of us Filipinos seem to love patronizing some of this a_sholes. It's bad enough that our country is full of scammers and worse to get flocked up by a fellow Filipino, but to get taken for a ride by a foreign national in our own country? Normally, this piece of white shit who tried to put a fast one on us would often be aided by some willing Filipino accomplice. Unfortunately, our group happened to come across one of this kind, and shameful as it is to admit, we were in a sense (together with the task Force Jericho of the DILG) taken for a ride. Our group was requested/tapped by an alleged foreign based NGO (International Wild Life Coalition or IWC) represented by a certain Charles Wartenberg together with his two Filipino cohorts to do research regarding the illegal dog trade (see page 8 of this paper for the Animal Welfare Act of 1998, RA 8485) in Baguio, and one of the reasons we accepted the job (other than the fees/monies to be gained) was that most, if not all of us, were against the cruel & indiscriminate slaughtering of dogs. Those who know us would know that we have taken on quite a number of advocacies in the past, most of the time for free at no monetary remunerations at all. Although most of us are of the belief that it would be ideal to get paid for and venture into something you believe in wherein definitely the law (legal & ethical) happens to be on our side, hence we accepted the offer to do the research/documentation on the illegal dog trade in Baguio and Benguet. Unfortunately, as in most negotiations (whether written or verbal) and even in so called iron-clad contracts/agreements, the parties at times simply deviate depending on their own hidden agenda. In all the scheduled raids and apprehension of illegal dog slaughterhouses in Baguio and La Trinidad, we were made to understand by the IWC that all live dogs confiscated during the raid will be brought to a dog pound outside of Baguio . We were surprised to learn that right after the raid on these slaughterhouses, this a__ hole foreigner there and then was doing euthanasia (mercy killing) to the dogs. I wonder what the prosecutors/fiscal will have to say about this. I am sure that even the Task Force Jericho people were surprised at what this stupid foreigner was doing together with a veterinarian ( whose license to practice we will go for ) and his cohorts. At the time we confronted them, we were given various reasons to justify their actions. And I could not comprehend any of the reasons they gave, therefore I would rather not delve on them. However, what really pissed me off was the gal of this foreigner. To begin with is his meddling into what is supposed to be part of our local internal affairs (although that part is not so bad) but the part I cannot take is his blatant disregard for the Animal Welfare Act, the very law which is supposed to be the basis of his actions. His blatant disregard of certain provisions of the Act is tantamount and the same as his breaking Philippine Law. This BAD British fellow must have forgotten that he was standing on Philippine soil and that he is subject to our laws, or is he not? Sad to say we were taken for a ride, well, I can just hope that we're the last one he'll gets to put a fast one on. As to the others he deceived in England , well that's another story, but at this day and age, with high technology around via the internet etc. who knows maybe this scam being perpetrated on those gullible, pitiful bleeding hearts in the UK will also be put to an end. So we were taken for a ride, that's why it's now time for this BAD British fellow to learn a few lessons in Philippine Jurisprudence.

 

back to top

 

 
     
 


FASTRACK

column by Freddie J. Farres
The Junction Regional Newspaper, May 31-June 6, 2003

• Kapihan sa Baguio-Benguet, what for?

• Doggone issues:

There are two weekly kapihans that are spearheaded by the Philippine Information Agency (PIA), the kapihan with CARE (Cordillera Assoc. of Regional Executives) held every Wednesday morning until lunch and hosted by Tina Chua, Production Manager of DZWT and Helen Tibaldo, PIA Regional Director. Likewise the Kapihan sa Benguet is held every Tuesday morning until lunch and hosted by Tina Chua and a certain Nathan Alcantara of the PIA-Benguet. Both kapihans are held at Kalapaw Restaurant (Abanao Ext.). The usual format of these kapihans is to invite a panel of guests/speakers, and topics and/or issues vary from government and non-government concerns etc. These kapihans are regularly attended by members of the media, where media is given a chance to ask questions to the guests during an open forum-type question and answer portion.

I have no idea how many years this type of kapihans has been around, although it must have been around for sometime. In any case, since I got involved in media, there has only been three occasions where I personally attended these kapihans.

Normally, I would make an effort and go out of my way to attend when the topic at hand is something I feel strongly about. Unfortunately there have been topics of interest to me that I would have wanted to attend like when they guested this VERY CORRUPT DOTC-CAR OFFICIAL. Sadly, I happened to be out of town. In truth, non-interest in attending was actually due to the impression I had that these kapihans would provide very little value in terms of input and factual info given the time spent listening to the usual panelists and guests who more often, are heads of government offices mouthing one PR line after the other. My impression has recently been re-affirmed by Mr. Nathan Alcantara (I will explain later what I mean).

For one thing the lunch or snack during or after the kapihan is usually sponsored by the agency concerned (correct me if I'm wrong on this) who happen to usually be the guest/panelists, and you know how it is- sa ugaling pinoy you know better than to go hard on the guy whose buying you lunch, petty as that may sound, I believe there is some truth to this. That's what some may call as common courtesy, right?

Another reason for my seldom attendance was I felt that the question and answer portion was not really a no-holds barred, uncensored, say is as you wish, face to face type of Q&A. Why do I say this? Other than the reason of not being able to go hard on the guys buying you lunch, the main sponsor and organizer of the kapihan is the government administration mouthpiece, PIA (the Philippine Information Agency). There you have it, strike two, so tell me how far and how hard do you think any self-respecting hot-blooded media person can go given these circumstances. Tamaan ka naman ng hiya would be the operative word (how naïve could I be at times!) that would be the likely situation one would be faced with.

WELL NOT FOR ME- those of you who know me, must know that I do not mince my words and I'm in the habit of saying things as I feel they are, more so I do not have the patience to put up with rude kapihan hosts like Mr. Alcantara who probably thought he was a hard-hitting columnist/opinion writer or a paid lackey instead of a neutral and unbiased host.

In fact there have been only three occasions I have set foot on these kapihans. One is the topic regarding that SCAM of a Baguio Circumferential Road (where we actually formally requested the PIA to take it up). The second was recently regarding the BWD- Baguio Walang Danum palusutan blues, and most recently was just last Tuesday the topic being on Animal Welfare where the panel of guests were the city veterinarian, members of law enforcement and representatives of the UK-based non-government organization, Political Animal Lobby (PAL). In fact I did not intend to attend, not until the last minute, but since the topic is one close to my heart and it being part of the advocacy of Linis Gobyerno, having learned of the topic I rushed to the kapihan despite of the bad weather.

This kapihan sa Benguet was hosted by Ms. Tina Chua and Nathan Alcantara. Truth to tell, wala akong masabi sa hosting ni Tina and Helen. At times, I noticed some leaning but that's normal, we are after allowed to entertain certain biases- we are just human, for as long as the host/moderator does not act like a paid lackey of a certain party/interest and act rude and interject (causing to censure and/or distract) without valid reason into the questions being asked by a participant, then OK lang . Unlike what Mr. Alcantara subjected this columnist to in the recent kapihan sa Benguet, simple lang kasi Mr. Alcantara puwede mo namang saluhin at depensahan yung mga guests nang hindi ako sine-censure, nakalimutan mo na bang nasa demokrasya tayo Mr. Alcantara?

So what did this gracious host do? When it was my turn to ask questions and that was around 11:15 (and these kapihans I understand usually end around 12 noon), on my second question directed at the representative of PAL by way of trying to elicit a reaction from their representative, Mr. Gracious host cuts me and informs me that I am just allowed two questions (how lucky can the others get, in fact the two guys before me had ample time and more questions to asks) that I should instead leave the matters to the court etc….. Why cut me off Mr. Alcantara, did you sense that I would be asking sensitive questions that your guests might not be so pleased to hear? Why, Mr. Alcantara, were you given some form of monetary consideration or something similar that you felt out of gratitude that you must help in shielding these Political Animal Lobby representatives? Incidentally Mr. Alcantara, who approved of the guesting of Political Animal Lobby, was it not you? For your information Mr. Alcantara, our group Linis Gobyerno has, as its special project, the stopping of the illegal dog meat trade in Baguio/Cordillera. In fact we could be among the first, if not the first to have filed a complaint for violation of the Animal Welfare Act against a British, UK-based NGO-International Wildlife Coalition (IWC) together with some of its Filipino paid lackeys in the courts of Baguio (our complaint is now pending at the MTC 1).

You so proudly mentioned that PAL has statistics to show. For your information we have checked the facts and figures of PAL and for now this much I will tell you (see page 6 of this paper for additional info on this group). We have reason to believe that this group is no different from the IWC. We believe they are not truly concerned with the welfare of the dogs much less putting a serious stop to the on-going illegal dog meat trade in Baguio/Cordillera Region for to do so would not justify their continued solicitation efforts of funding from their gullible bleeding heart foreign donors. Oh, but I guess you have already done your own research and are convinced on the intents and purposes of this group? Or perhaps you also do not care about the welfare of the dogs being mercilessly butchered?

I happen to be a dog lover Mr. Alcantara. I take care of a few pitbulls at the moment and as far back as I can remember our household has never been without the presence of a number of dogs that are treated with the love and care befitting man's truly loyal and best friend. I'm surprised at you Mr. Alcantara (or maybe I should not be). You have a foreign group that is clearly meddling into a Philippine internal affair/problem and you seem to believe what they say hook line and sinker (otherwise you should not have proudly commented to me if whether I have read their statistics or not) I suggest you do your own research Mr. Alcantara, before you delve into matters and come to the aid and defense of a foreign based group. I challenge you to a public open forum/discussion on the efforts being conducted by this group Political Animal Lobby. There would have been no need for me to hurl this challenge at you had you allowed me a few free flowing set of questions during the kapihan. After all, is that not supposed to be the purpose of this kapihans, which is to bring out and take up matters openly? Why the unceremonious censuring in the first place?

Now as to the information I wanted to hear directly from the representatives of PAL (from the horse's mouth so to speak) of which you did not give me chance to do so, perhaps you can give me an answer to the following.

  • Where does the funding of PAL come from?
  • What amount of donations have they so far solicited for this purpose; do they have a system of transparency in solicitation of funds, if they do how is it done?
  • What legal measures have they undertaken in relation to the numerous apprehensions they have undertaken in the implementation of the Animal welfare Act for the end benefit of the dogs?
  • Where do the dogs they claim to have saved during apprehension end up, do these dogs end back in the food chain which is part and parcel of what the Animal Welfare Law is trying to prevent?

These are just a few questions that would have said a lot about this group, had you not censured me.

Finally, last you forget Mr. Alcantara that you are also a public servant working for the government, hosting the kapihan during official government time and of course drawing compensation from government. If you cannot at least act like an objective and non-partisan host, at least act like an intelligent public servant, not like a high strung paid lackey.

In fact, I do not even know you from Adam, Mr. Alcantara. We have not even formally introduced and you cut me off just like that. But despite of your demeanor, Mr. Alcantara, as I said earlier, you just re-affirmed to me my earlier impression of the kapihan. Now I am certain that there are at least a hundred more productive things I can do rather then attend a kapihan where you are one of the hosts. But don't get me wrong, Mr. Alcantara I can also indulge myself in non-productive activities; therefore you just might see more of me in the kapihan where you are host.

 

back to top

  
 
     
 


FASTRACK

column by Freddie J. Farres
The Junction Regional Newspaper, June 7-13, 2003

MORE DOGGONE OBSERVATIONS

Having revealed during my previous column that I count myself among the millions of dog lovers worldwide, allow me to share some of the admirable qualities our pet dogs have. Although, I am not drawing any sharp conclusions on dog eaters in relation to love for dogs I happen to personally know a number of dog lovers who really treat their pet dogs with tender loving care and at the same time still do not say no, when offered dog meat, and they say for as long as it's not their dog(s) that will be butchered, its ok well, to each his own, the point is, there is now a law—The Animal Welfare Act, that prohibits the slaughtering and maltreatment of dogs and other animals. The law only allows dog slaughtering for purpose of religious practice and/or rituals. In fact, it is not only our country that consumes dog meat. Some of our Asian neighbors also do, like Vietnam, Korea, China, but the difference there is it's a delicacy (more expensive than regular viands) whereas in our end, dog meat consumption is one simply brought about by a cheap supply situation and poor man's demand. The demand for cheap meat is there and dog meat simply happens to be cheap.

In China , they serve dog meat (from Saint Bernard pure breeds) packed in frozen attractive containers, and the way the dogs are slaughtered are even worse. They are skinned alive. The reason for this, as they claim, is the effect of the adrenaline secreted by the dog during intense pain has a good effect on the quality of meat. Occurrence of these sorts in China does not surprise me for they happen to eat almost everything in that country, done in so many creative ways. But in our case, dog meat consumption is simply a matter of economics. The meat is cheap, that's it. If dog meat were more expensive than pork, do you think the demand for dog meat would still be the same?

It's a good thing that, recently, a national broadsheet and a local paper published an article about a dog named Dagul. This heroic dog warned his master of an impending landslide about to bury their house and saved his master's life.

There have been countless exploits on the importance of dogs like in the field of guard work, rescue works, bomb/drug sniffing etc…. I cannot overemphasize on the number of human lives that have been saved by dogs, and here are some people who have no qualms at all in continue to mercilessly butcher these innocent creatures.

Unlike other animals, if we must compare, a lot of dogs are capable of exceptional intelligence. In fact, a lot of dogs are more intelligent than a lot of people. But most of all, dogs are capable of loving.

I am sure you must have noticed that when they reach your home, among the first if not the first to welcome you with a wagging tail and loving attitude is your pet dog. This display of affection and love is not often seen with other four-legged animals. In terms of loyalty, a trait that is becoming quite rare to find in humans, is innate with dogs. Read more on the exploits of those K-9 law enforcers, what they say on how their partner dogs have, on so many occasions taken a bullet for them. I'm printing part of a book review that was e-mailed to me by a friend in the US .

“Something to think about; In their book, shadows of forgotten Ancestors, Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan tell of actual laboratory experiments in which monkeys where forced to choose between electroshocking other monkeys doing without food themselves. Almost all of the monkeys went hungry for up to two weeks rather than shock others. “These monkeys-who have never gone to Sunday school, never heard of the Ten Commandments, never squirmed through a single junior-high school civics lesson-seem courageous in their moral grounding and their resistance to evil… If the situation were reversed, and captive humans were offered the same deal by macabre scientists, would we do as well?”

Well, I think most of us would know the answer to these questions. In fact all you have to do is look around, see all the ongoing chaos most especially in different levels of government, and perhaps you can draw your own conclusions and start thinking if indeed the human race is more superior than other species of the animal kingdom? Ironically, some say, life nowadays is a dog-eat-dog situation. I beg to disagree for I know for a fact that dogs do not eat their fellow dogs. Perhaps a more apt term would be man eating man?

Or what about the expression that goes “ para kang animal ”? Again, I disagree. Perhaps a more apt expression should be “ para kang tao ”. As I have often said. After all, admittedly, we humans have done and committed such acts unimaginable to be committed fellow humans.

Again there is this other comment we often say “ it's a jungle out there. ” This reference I suppose was taken to the priate comment, unless we refer to the human jungle society has created that is inhabited by be more order and humanity in the jungle, in the wilds. Have you not noticed that some species of animals have to prey on their fellow animals in order to survive? Compare it to human jungle that society has created and you have a jungle wherein you often see that man despite of his having more than enough to live with, to go by (enough wealth to last for several generations, certainly beyond surviving) without any moral qualms would not hesitate to f---k up his fellowmen, done in the interest of amassing more and more wealth.

Should I be asked for an answer on the question posed on the above book review, I think the answer is clear.

 

back to top

 

 
 
       
  The great pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool of yourself with him and not only will he not scold you, he will make a fool of himself too.

-Samuel Butler (1835 - 1902)
British writer, painter, and musician

 
       
 
 


FASTRACK

column by Freddie J. Farres
The Junction Regional Newspaper, July 12-18, 2003

DOG EATING - IS IT WORTH IT?

There are several online and hardcopy petitions that have, for sometime now been going around animal welfare circles and among animal lovers on a world wide network. Herewith I am printing one of these petitions who I presume are supporters of the Philippine Animal Welfare Act (RA 8485) of 1998. I would like to show our leaders the

negative drawbacks and perhaps future (if not on-going) dire consequences of our continued disregard and/ or taking granted of the Animal Welfare Act, more so our tolerance of the inhumane treatment and butchering of man's best friend.

Dear Mr. Vice President,

Although I applaud your country's introduction of a law to protect companion animals (i.e The Animal Welfare Act, 1998), I am shocked by your lack of resolve to enforce this law.

Section 6 clearly states that;

“ It shall be unlawful for any person to torture any animal, to neglect to provide adequate care, sustenance or shelter, or maltreat any animal or to subject dog or horse to dogfights or horsefights, kill or cause or procure to be tortured or deprived of adequate care, sustenance or welfare, or maltreat or use the same in research or experiments not expressly authorized by the Committee on Animal Welfare.”

It also goes on to state that;

“ The killing of any animal other than cattle, pigs, goats, sheep, poultry, rabbits, carabaos, horses, deer, and crocodiles is likewise hereby declared unlawful except in the following instances:” and lists several exceptions, non of which mention either dogs or food.

Evidence clearly proves that dogs are currently being sold for human consumption in Government-approved markets in blunt contravention of this law. These animals are treated with appalling cruelty.

I respectfully request that you enforce your nation's law without delay. Until you do, I certainly cannot consider taking a holiday in the Philippines , buy any products from your country, or take any other measure that may benefit your country's economy. I will regretfully have to advise my friends to do the same.

 

Yours sincerely,

(Name/country)

I wonder as to the number of signatories/supporters for petitions of this nature must reach, before the concerned authorities are forced into action, if ever there is even a chance our concerned authorities will start taking into consideration the implementation of the Animal Welfare Act? I am confident in my level and sense of nationalism, so much so that sometimes we tend to view or hastily interpret foreign opinion and/or foreign causes as some sort of foreign intervention, I do not feel that way with the above petitions making the rounds globally on animal law makers to enact a law (RA 8485 Animal Welfare Act). If we never intended or even attempted to observe this law (although realistically speaking a lot of laws are being broken with impunity in this country)? I find it ironic and even pathetic to lay this burden on ourselves as proposed in this petition for a boycott of our products ( need I elaborate on the following equation: exports=labor=jobs etc…) and/or boycott on tourist arrivals/visits to our beautiful country?

Well, what's new? Hasn't the tourism industry taken enough beating already? So let's add some more reason to drive away animal-loving tourists and animal-loving buyers of Philippine products.

I used the words ironic and pathetic, for are we not a poor enough country with our economic leaders resorting to foreign borrowing every opportunity they can? By the way, how much is our foreign debt already? How many billions of dollars is it already?

And now, let me presume (and I hope wrongly) that after having learned of these types of international efforts, a lot of our respected leaders would simply scoff of petitions of this sorts of smart ass excuses to forego on the implementation of the Animal Welfare Act. Why are we not part of the global community? In fact in a lot of instances we do act like mendicants and go even to lengths to sell our fellowmen, and/or sell our national pride and/or dignity as a people all for a few precious and mighty dollars!

So let's continue to disregard the Animal Welfare Act and insist that it is a 50-year old cultural practice in this part of the country. Incidentally, I had a discussion with our editor who happens to be a full blooded Igorota/Cordilleran and she somehow changed my impression and insisted that dog eating is not part of the Cordilleran culture. At least not her culture, that is according to her.

The law is clear. It makes exceptions for certain religious practices etc…, but the reality of the presently booming illegal dog meat trade situation was simply brought about by cheap supply that created the present demand.

Have you heard of dogs being raised for slaughtering purposes, as in hog raising or poultry farming? Why not? Simply because to raise dogs for this purpose would make for a viable, more so profitable venture. I understand in other countries dog eating is a delicacy, take for example China (of course they eat almost anything in China) where they are even looking for foreign investors to invest in the breeding and raising of Saint Bernards (the national dog of the Austrians) for as they claim the meat of the Saint Bernard dog, once skinned alive (and I mean skinned alive) develops a very tender, tasteful quality brought about by the adrenaline pumped by the body of the dog during extreme pain. Therefore, in some other countries where dog eating is also practiced, it is a delicacy and not exactly poor man's food, whereas in our case it is the reverse. The demand for dog meat is simply around because it is cheap. If for example you bring up the cost of dog meat to the same price as beef and/ or pork do you think the demand for dog meat will be that big? I don't think so.

The present supply of dog meat comes mostly from the low lands like Batangas Province and in some instances frozen, chopped dressed dog meat as far south as Iloilo, and these are all either stray or some family pet dog that are being literally abducted or dog-napped. In fact the charge for dog traders should not only be for the violation of the Animal Welfare Act but also for theft and/or dog-napping, for is not what the dog traders are doing tantamount to theft, stealing someone else's property?

So the question, to my simple mind, boils down to this –can we really afford to turn away some of our foreign dog loving tourists? Can we really afford to disregard these people? Is it worth it?

 

back to top

 

 
     
 


FASTRACK

column by Freddie J. Farres
The Junction Regional Newspaper, November 8, 2003

To: The General Public/ Foreign and Local Donors

Subject: Nefarious and fraudulent activities of Charles Wartenberg of the International Wildlife Coalition – (IWC-UK), and his cohorts alleged to be members of the Animal Kingdom Foundation (AKF)

We denounce in all the strongest possible terms the on-going activities of Charles Wartenberg and his cohorts alleged members of Animal Kingdom Foundation (AKF).

Mr. Wartenberg for quite sometime has been operating in the Philippines and has passed himself off as an honest to goodness animal welfarist in the guise of claiming to want to put a stop to the illegal dog meat trade (concentrated mainly in Baguio City and the Cordilleras, Philippines ). His actions, however, show otherwise.

We have reason to believe that Mr. Wartenberg and his cohorts are not sincere in their desire to help put a stop to the illegal dog meat trade. The facts are as follows:

On June 27, 2002 staff members of The Junction Newspaper filed a complaint for violation of the Animal Welfare Act (RA 8485) AGAINST Charles Wartenberg, Luis Buenaflor, Winston Samaniego and Suzzane “Babes” Llanes (all staff members of the IWC-UK and AKF), please refer to attached Affidavit Complaint and its Annexes and related news clippings. A warrant of arrest was issued against Wartenberg, Buenaflor and Samaniego, and to date the case is being heard at the sala of the Hon, Judge Danilo Camacho, Branch 1, Municipal Trial Court (MTC), Baguio City , under Criminal Case No. 109841.

Despite the case filed against Wartenberg and his staff, they continue to operate in Baguio City and Benguet Province ( Cordilleras ), now using the Animal Kingdom Foundation (AKF). They still use the same methods, and hundreds of dogs recovered during their operations remain unaccounted for, as they were not turned over to the local authorities or to the court.

On the October 4, 2003 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI) one of its front page stories states that Mr. Wartenberg brought to the United Kingdom on February 1, 2003 a dog (mongrel) he claimed to have rescued during a raid at an illegal slaughterhouse in Baguio City . Verification with the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) Central Office in Quezon City indicated that for the duration of June 21, 2002 up to October 20, 2003 the BAI did not issue any export permit for a mongrel dog to be transported to the United Kingdom , a pre-requisite for all dogs for transport abroad.

It was further stated in the PDI story that the dog was transported via Lufthansa Airlines to the United Kingdom ( Gatwick Airport , London ) on February 1, 2003. Verification with Lufthansa Airlines (based on our letter inquiry dated October 24, 2003), in several telephone conversations with Mr. Fred Posadas, Customer Service of Lufthansa Airlines ( with contact telephone nos. 02-8548164/ 02-8548165 he informed us that it is their policy not to give out written confirmations to third parties on inquiries of this nature, however according to Mr. Posadas ( in a phone conversation morning of November 8, 2003) based on his detailed verification of their records (archives) they have not transported a mongrel dog to the UK on the duration claimed by Mr. Wartenberg. Furthermore, Mr. Posadas informed us that Lufthasa flights from the Philippines do not land at Gatwick Airport , London but instead at Heathrow Airport , London .

Herewith attached are photocopies of the following supporting documents:

  • Philippine Daily Inquirer front page story dated October 4, 2003
  • Linis Gobyerno Letter to BAI dated October 18, 2003; please refer to bottom portion-handwritten certification of Dr. Samuel B. Animas, Chief, Veterinary Quarantine and Inspection Services of BAI-Animal Health Division.
  • Letter of BAI to Linis Gobyerno to Lufthansa Airlines dated October 24, 2003

The above documents speak for themselves. The general public is hereby advised to deal cautiously with Charles Wartenberg and his cohorts in matters concerning and pertaining to animal welfare, more so on the illegal dog meat trade in the country.

For further details, you can call or write to the following:

Linis Gobyerno (Clean Government) and/or The Junction Regional Newspaper,
Ground Floor PCEC Bldg., Happy Homes Campo Sioco,
Baguio City , Philippines
Tel. Nos. (6374) 620-0641 or (6374) 448-0645

back to top

 
     
     
 

 

 

IN and OUT of Baguio

By Cecile C. Afable August 22, 2004, Baguio Midland Courier

 

Dogs are Man's Best Friend  

But they can also be raised for food for the gods and the people.

The International Body Group, who are complaining against dog trade in our areas, should go to Taiwan and Korea , where dog meat is a daily fare to them. It is a national delicacy.

Eating dog meat to us is part of our culture and we do not tolerate anybody especially a foreign supported group to come and legislate against our culture. It is a human right and we can take this up against them to the United Nations as a violation. Even our legislators who try to prohibit the eating of dogs are eating them. The British used their dogs to hunt and kill other animals—and they pay other people to save dogs.

I do not kill animals because I am a Buddhist but I am also an Igorot so I do not prevent those who enjoy eating dogs specially those that are raised for food or the self-supporting ones. Our Congress has been lobbied to prohibit the eating of dogs but they are not serious about it. So those who are being paid to stop the eating of dogs better look for a more interesting job. If they sincerely do not want to eat dog meat.

I have some dogs who would like to eat them.

 

back to top

 

A Reader's Reaction...

To be honest, I might have already tasted dog meat- I'm really not sure. I do recall parties where pigs were slaughtered in our own backyard, and yes, dogs too.

I'm partly Pangasinanse , and when relatives get together, it's a vegetarian's nightmare. Standing before a meat smorgasbord, I could not tell beef from pork or goat meat from dog meat. But I really wish to God no dog meat ever landed on my plate.

After 20 years, why the sudden conscience attack?

I really don't know. First of all, I would not call myself a dog lover. In fact, for health reasons, I try to keep my distance which is pretty hard considering we have three dogs at home plus an overwhelming number of puppies when the two females reproduce. Come to think of it, we were never without dogs and our yard is a virtual cemetery of pets past. Through the years, living in proximity and seeing how unique each dog is and experiencing how loyal they truly are, I must admit I have developed some kind of attachment and admiration for our furred friends.

I recently read an article on a local paper where the writer vehemently warned the International Body Group from meddling with the dog trade in Baguio and the surrounding area. She stated how she could take the group's actions up to the UN for human rights violation because it's nobody's business what food they preferred… Well, everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion but when you're a columnist, I think it's wise to back that opinion with actual facts.

I'm not an expert on animal welfare but I do know there is a law against animal cruelty already in place in our very own country (look up RA 8485 also known as the Animal Welfare Act). This gives animal welfare groups a solid ground for fighting animal cruelty in the Philippines . They can especially use it against those blatantly breaking the law, i.e. the dog trade. Slaughtering dogs for trade, serving dog dishes in restaurants or selling them in public markets are definitely transgressions on the Animal Welfare Act. As for meddling with the local culture—ordering kalderetang aso from a diner is surely not a part of Igorot culture, and the law does have provisions for native practices, something she would have been fully aware of had she bothered reading up on the subject. This columnist, who proclaims to be a full-blooded Igorota, might use a refresher course in her own culture. Dog slaughtering in Igorot culture is only done in times of tragedy, death or misfortune. A dog is sacrificed to appease the gods and to guard the souls of the living. And the ritual clearly calls for the family dog to be sacrificed, not some dog bought from the market or picked off the streets. Considering these circumstances, I think a true Igorot would rather forego the “enjoyment” of eating dog meat.

I have a sister who loves dogs. She actually arranges a funeral for when a pet dog dies—complete with gumamela garlands and a shoebox coffin. She was there on those occasions where a dog was part of the buffet but she really didn't make a fuss about it except she started asking what was put on her plate. I guess it was because of her I started asking what was in the food too. She might have affected more people than I thought because for as long as I could remember up to this day, all our gatherings have been dog-safe, and our entire family, absolutely, dog-friendly.

The fight for animal welfare is a global concern. It should not be determined by boundary or race or culture because truly, the concern for animals comes from within individuals, regardless of color or belief.

 

Myra Malihan
Baguio City 


      

 

 
FAQ | WEBMASTER | ABOUT US
All rights Reserved @ 2006