The Nagaland government has decided to ban commercial import, trading and sale of dog meat, the state's top official said on Friday, after a picture of incapacitated canines tied in gunny bags was widely circulated on social media, reported NDTV.
This is the second time such a move has been taken - the state government in the past had asked Urban Local Bodies to end markets selling dog meat but the decision was not implemented.
"The State Government has decided to ban commercial import and trading of dogs and dog markets and also the sale of dog meat, both cooked and uncooked. Appreciate the wise decision taken by the State's Cabinet," Nagaland Chief Secretary Temjen Toy twitted on Friday.
In the disturbing picture, dogs are seen packed in gunny bags as a commodity with their mouths tied with ropes in one of the Nagaland capital Dimapur's wet markets. The Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations (FIAPO) - a non-profit- had on Thursday submitted a fresh plea to the state government to ban the dog meat trade.
Omung Kumar, the director of Priyanka Chopra-starring movie, Mary Kom, took part in an online campaign in which other social media users were asked to send emails demanding ban on dog meat trade.
Dog meat is considered a delicacy among some communities in the state. In 2016, animal rights activists had sent a legal to the government over dog meat trade.
FIAPO, which has been conducting separate "undercover investigations" in the trade of dog meat since 2016, revealed that dogs are brought in from neighbouring northeast states and even from West Bengal for slaughter.
"In Assam 'dog catchers' (working for the smugglers) get about Rs 50 per dogs. The same dog, when sold at wholesale rate in Nagaland, costs Rs. 1000. In the streets of Nagaland, dog meat sells for Rs. 200 per kg i.e. roughly Rs.2000 per dog which is a 40-50 times increase from the catchers' 'price' a hundred kilometres away," FIAPO said in a press statement.
Nagaland has special exemptions under Article 371 (A) of the Constitution that bestows special status to protect the customary traditional practices of the people of the state from any Act of parliament.
Dog meat is consumed in a few other areas of the north-eastern part of the country.
In March, Mizoram dropped dogs from the list of animals allowed for slaughtering.