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Sunday, September 16, 2007

They're eating their pets in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe's self-induced death spiral continues. The latest sign of impending collapse - residents are abandoning pets because they can no longer afford to feed them, and some pets are subsequently slaughtered for their meat, according to this story from CNN:

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) -- Pets are being slaughtered for meat in shortage-stricken Zimbabwe and record numbers of animals have been surrendered to shelters or abandoned by owners no longer able to feed them, animal welfare activists say.

The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said it could not feed surrendered animals or find them new homes and was being forced to kill them and destroy the corpses.

Animals, like people, are being hard hit by Zimbabwe's economic meltdown, with official inflation of more than 7,600 percent, the highest in the world. Independent estimates put real inflation closer to 25,000 percent and the International Monetary Fund has forecast it will reach 100,000 percent by the end of the year.

Vets have run out of the drug used to put down the animals and are relying on intermittent donations from neighboring South Africa. One veterinary practice was waiting for supplies to destroy about 20 animals, and on Friday could neither feed them adequately nor fatally inject them.
...
Animal activists say they have been threatened with arrest for speaking out and SPCA offices were raided by secret police agents of the Central Intelligence Organization on Thursday. SPCA inspectors said they were ordered not to release details of surrendered, abandoned, slain or eaten pets.

...
Illegally slaughtered meat sells for more than 10 times the government's fixed price on the thriving black market. It comes in plastic bags of 22 pounds and more, containing bone, fat and offal and no indication of types or cuts of meat.

"You're getting brisket, shin, flank, rump and anything else that's available, all lumped together. It's meat, take it or leave it," the animal protection activist said.
"It is not illegal to eat dog meat in this country, but we have laws on how animals must be humanely slaughtered," he said.

A court case is pending in the eastern city of Mutare, where a pet dog was butchered and eaten.

Police and SPCA inspectors were called to a shopping center in Harare earlier this month, where a man was offering frozen dog meat for sale from the back of a pickup truck, activists said.

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