Pet owners in Thailand are being told to keep a close eye on their four-legged friends after hundreds of dog remains were found near the border of Laos.
It is thought the dog remains, made up of hundreds of skins and bones which had been abandoned in a forest in Sakon Nakhon, northeastern Thailand, were destined for Vietnam and China.There, dog meat is considered a delicacy, but is also used to make leather products – in particular golf gloves made from canine testicles.The find was made last month by Thai police, who revealed the purpose of the practice, which is illegal in Thailand.‘The skins would be bleached - some are then sent (by smugglers) to other countries to be made into gloves for playing golf,’ Lamai Sakolpitak, from a special police unit to suppress smuggling and the trade in animal parts, told AFP.'Experts say that dog skins are also used for instruments such as drums.’Mr Lamai said the find is linked to the March raids on two makeshift factories in the area where smugglers would strip skin from dogs and preserve the meat.Dog skin is highly sought after by manufacturers of golf gloves, predominantly the skin from the testicles as it is particularly soft, John Dalley, co-founder and vice-president of Thai dog welfare organisation Soi Dog Foundation, told Businessweek.com.Although there are thousands of stray dogs in Thailand’s many large cities, smugglers prefer domestic pets as they are easier to catch, Mr Dalley says.‘Stray dogs are extremely difficult to catch. It’s far easier to catch pet dogs or unwanted service dogs,’ he says, adding that the illegal dog trade is extremely cruel.Mr Dalley, who has lived in Thailand for over a decade, says dogs are often packed into cages before being dragged out and skinned alive.Local campaign group Watchdog Thailand confirmed that dog skin is used for golf gloves, hats and wallets and that smugglers will offer to pay around $10 for a live dog, including pets and strays.(dailymail.co.uk)ANN.Az