It’s been a week of victory for dog welfare activists this week; we share updates about the fight against the dog meat trade in China. Plus, discover the unlikely species of penguin that owes its existence to a group of Australian dogs, and crime busting sniffer dogs make a big splash!
Dogs protect tiny penguins
On the other side of the globe is a small island that is the natural habitat of an unusual group of animals who, until recently, were facing extinction. Little Penguins, also known as Blue Penguins or Fairy Penguins, are the 30cm tall inhabitants of Middle Island, a small outcrop of rock and bush of the south western coast of Australia.
When it became apparent that hungry foxes were threatening the Little Penguins’ future existence, a farmer decided to introduce his dog, Oddball, to Middle Island to keep the foxes away. Simply taking Oddball for a walk around the island to leave his scent and bark a bit was enough to reset the animal hierarchy of the island. Since then, the Penguin Preservation Project (try saying that five times fast!) has introduced two more dogs to the island (they’re named Eudy and Tula after the latin name for Fairy Penguins – Eudyptula).
The results speak for themselves – there used to be fewer than 10 penguins on the island, now there are more than 200. And there’s been a film made about Oddball (it’s called Oddball and came out back in 2015).
Beginning of the end for dog meat in China?
Every summer for the last few years there’s been growing public outcry against the infamous Yulin Dog Meat Festival. Now, it looks like there’s some good news to share. The city of Yulin has announced that it plans to place a ban on the sale of dog meat. The “festival” takes place each year in June in the south-eastern Chinese city of Yulin, but this year, restaurants and food markets may face a hefty fine of £11,250 for selling dog meat.
Yulin has become synonymous with animal cruelty – even a Google search for the city itself brings up shocking images of dogs crammed into cages. There have been allegations that many of the 15,000 dogs who end up being beaten, skinned and killed at the festival are household pets who’ve been stolen for profit.
This is a huge step forward for dog welfare in China, and of course, these new measures need to be properly enforced if they’re to have any effect. There’s still a long way to go for this campaign, which has previously gained 11 million signatures and high-profile celebrities have also spoken out in support of ending Yulin’s barbaric treatment of dogs. However, this is only the first city in China to impose a law of this kind; so dog meat sales are perfectly legal in other areas.
London sniffer dogs are crime-busting heroes
Dogs have been helping keep us humans safe for thousands of years. Over the years, dogs have adapted to modern life and can now be found completing a variety of duties, including police dogs, guide dogs, sniffer dogs and more!
Sniffer dogs don’t often make headlines, (usually it’s cool dogs like K9 Piper who get all the attention) but this week made a splash in the Evening Standard for busting a gang of fake tobacco smugglers, who were hiding their goods – more than 30,000 fake and illegal cigarettes, along with a massive cash pile – in a hairdressing salon in Shaftesbury Avenue. The dogs involved were trained by Wagtail UK, who train up dogs for active service in the UK Border Force, Armed Forces and more. We salute you, Wagtail!