GAUHATI, India (AP) — Authorities in India’s northeastern state of Nagaland have banned the sale of dog meat and halted the import and trading of dogs to be used for food, officials said Saturday.
The remote Christian-majority state’s Chief Secretary Temjen Toy said in a tweet that the state government banned all commercial import and trading of dogs and also the sale of dog meat, both cooked and uncooked. The move followed an appeal earlier in the week by Indian lawmaker Maneka Gandhi, who urged the Nagaland government to act.
Gandhi’s appeal came after she received fresh photographs of the trade from a Nagaland-based animal protection group. The appeal led to more than 125,000 people writing to the Nagaland government to urge the banning of the dog trade and the sale of dog meat.
“This is a major turning point in ending the cruelty in India’s hidden dog meat trade,” animal rights advocacy group Humane Society International said in a statement.
The group estimates that up to 30,000 dogs a year are smuggled into Nagaland, where they are sold in live markets. The group also says dogs are regularly beaten to death with wooden clubs.
Authorities praised the movement.
“This is a progressive move. In this day and age, positive social media activism and advocacy has an enormous impact on policymakers. Congrats and thanks to all,” Abu Metha, an adviser to Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio, the state’s highest elected official, said in a tweet.
Apart from Nagaland, thousands of dogs each year are illegally captured for consumption from the streets or stolen from homes in other northeast Indian states, including Mizoram, Tripura and Arunachal Pradesh, rights groups say.