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Video: Dog meat merchants flee cops

Rare bust unlikely to dent multi-million dollar Thai-Lao-Vietnam dog meat trade
Dog meat mafia 2011 08 15Enlarge
(GlobalPost)

Thai police in Thailand's northeast borderlands have staged rare arrests of dog traffickers, who chucked cages stuffed full of dogs off their truck while eluding cops.

In a series of raids against the dog meat traffickers, cops arrested three men and rescued more than 1,000 dogs likely destined for Vietnamese slaughterhouses, AFP reports.

While this may appear to be a major strike against Thailand's dog meat mafia, it isn't.

Dog traffickers, who collect Thailand's unwanted strays for the Vietnamese meat market, can send about 1,000 dogs across the border in a single night. The profits add up to a multi-million dollar underground industry.

In the Reuters video below, you'll see a transfer truck teeming with dogs crammed into wire cages. While reporting our "Dog Meat Mafia" series in 2009 -- the three installments are Capture, Corruption and Conscience -- we witnessed trucks just like this illegally crossing a river border with impunity.

The recent "raids" might imply that police somehow discovered trafficking hubs and staged an incursion to save the dogs.

But police in these far-flung provinces typically know exactly where, how and when the traffickers operate.

Authorities intimated to us in 2009 that the dog trade is actually good for the region, as pay offs from traffickers satisfy authorities who might otherwise look for pay offs from more insidious local trades, such as trafficking immigrants or meth.

"The more they collect, the better," the province's police chief told us. He and many others likened the dog trade to taking out society's trash. The poor provinces barely have facilities to shelter a few hundred dogs, let alone thousands.

So why did cops stage this extremely rare crackdown against the so-called dog meat mafia? Perhaps there was a falling out between authorities and traffickers. Who knows? But a few raids and the rescuing of 1,000 dogs will barely dent this huge and highly lucrative business.

Here's the footage from Reuters:

And here's the video from our 2009 investigation:

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/the-rice-bowl/video-dog-meat-merchants-flee-cops