Animal lovers “sickened” by laws leaving Portugal’s cats and dogs at risk of human consumption

A national newspaper report that “cats and dogs from Portugal can now enter countries like Nigeria, Angola, Colombia, Peru, Jordan, Libya, Ukraine, South Korea and the Philippines” with Expresso asking the question “are they being sold to be eaten” has shocked the country’s animal rights community, leading to a petition demanding answers.

The Resident was assailed by calls for more information after we carried our account of the Expresso story: “Portugal exports cats and dogs to Korea and Philippines”.

Indeed, we were accused of sensationalism.

But it was all there in black and white with the country’s Secretary of State for the Ministry of Sea and Agriculture Nuno Vieira Brito telling the national weekly: “This is a world”, but stressing that all the animals were being exported as “pets”.

Protests on Facebook have suggested this may not be the case.

Animal lover Maria Odete Stone has detailed an account of one of her pets being “caught” by a municipal kennel worker, and within 48 hours her “animal was in Munich, in a kennels. I had a huge battle together with my lawyer and happily we got him back,” she wrote. “When he arrived, he was in a terrible state. A diabolical story in which, without doubt, many other “vanished” animals never return…”

Fellow animal lover and journalist (Jornal de Notícias) Marisa Rodrigues joined the discussion claiming she knows of a kennel in Évora that used to send live animals to a veterinary college of medicine so that they could be “used and abused”.

Calling the practice “illegal, immoral and ethically reprehensible”, Rodrigues added her voice to the call for a petition which has now been set up by Marta Correia, the Faro leader of PRAVI, the charity whose motto is ‘People and animals, a connection for life’.

Correia wrote on her Facebook page that “around two million dogs are consumed per year in South Korea” with an “an increase in consumption” registered in the summer months as “South Koreans believe eating dog meat will make them cooler”.

“In the Philippines, roughly half-a-million dogs are killed for consumption every year. In the last 25 years, the consumption of domestic pets has increased, due to reasons of commerce,” she added.

The distress these facts have caused readers have led to one actually asking us to remove our online story.

We have been at pains to explain the story came from a reputable source, and is not ‘ours’.

In a sense, it belongs to the world that Nuno Vieira Brito is reported as telling Expresso we all live in.

Meantime, Algarve MP Cristóvão Norte – instrumental in Portugal’s new animal rights legislation – writes “to all those who have asked for my intervention in respect of the exportation of animals to Asiatic countries, I received the following response from the Secretary of State”:

The circulation of animals and products obeys international phytosanitary rules established by the European Union, OIE, CIPF and Codex Alimentarius.

Sanitary and phytosanitary obligations that condition international transit are negotiated with these rules in place, aimed at preventing identifiable diseases.

Without this negotiation, animals and products of animal and vegetable origin cannot enter (countries) – whether for commercial or non-commercial reasons.

Thus Portugal has undertaken an exhaustive study to establish a common agreement on the requisites that permit the above mentioned transit.

All products and live animals, namely cattle destined for human consumption, circulate with certification showing commercial destination.

Portugal uniquely emits certificates for the movement of dogs when accompanied by the dog’s owner or whoever represents him – these movements being of a non-commercial nature and as domestic pets.

Meanwhile, the petition calling for the “immediate suspension of pet exports to Asian countries” can be found at

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