According to John Dalley, co-founder and vice-president of the Soi Dog Foundation in Thailand, the dog slaughter industry is not only interested in selling their meat, the dogs’ skins are also used for a number of things.
Factories use dog leather to make anything from drums and guitars to hats and gloves, Dalley told Bloomberg Businessweek. Golf gloves manufacturers specifically use the skin of the testicles he added, ‘because that skin is very soft’.
The news broke after police found hundreds of dog skins dumped inside bags next to a large pile of dog bones in a forest in Sakon Nakhon, northeastern Thailand on 25 March.
Lamai Sakolpitak, who works to end the smuggling and trade in animal parts, told AFP: “The skins would be bleached – some are then sent (by smugglers) to other countries to be made into gloves for playing golf.”
Sakolpitak added that the find was likely linked to a raid on two nearby makeshift factories where dogs were routinely skinned to make small items because it is much cheaper than cow leather.
“Some people were afraid that we would find the skins at their houses, so they dumped them.”
According to the WSPA, an estimated 25 million dogs are killed each year for food.
Dog meat is still largely consumed in China, South Korea and Vietnam, and in a smaller scale in many other countries around the world.
The trade in live dogs to be used for food in Vietnam has been made illegal in Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand last year. But “smugglers are paying huge amounts of money to authorities to turn the other way,” says Dalley.
He also explained that smugglers have also been trying to ‘outsmart the authorities’ and are switching from transporting live dogs to frozen dog meat.
Nonetheless, Dalley affirms that numbers have been decreasing with the new efforts from the governments and also thanks to the ongoing campaigns to create awareness.