Kathy Moran (The Philippine Star) Updated April 16, 2011 12:00 AM

MANILA, Philippines – We recently learned that at the April 12 meeting of the Committee on Animal Welfare (CAW), the provision on tambucho-killing of pound dogs was re-instated. The said provision was deleted by a majority vote on August 24, 2010.

We were told that Dr. Angel Mateo of the Bureau of Animal Industry-Animal Welfare Division (BAI-AWD) delayed the transmittal of the documents to Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala for eight months. 

However, when Mateo found out that the animal welfare groups, including Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS), Compassion and Responsibility Towards Animals (CARA) and the Animal Kingdom Foundation (AKF) were asking about the new rules with tambucho-killing deleted, Mateo set up a “re-voting” which was done on April 12. 

PAWS, CARA and AKF have requested that CAW uphold the deletion of tambucho-killing as voted upon by the majority of CAW members last Aug. 24.

Here are some excerpts of the position paper of PAWS, CARA and AKF against tambucho-killing of pound dogs:

1. Tambucho-killing is cruel and inhumane
The process of tambucho-killing begins by putting dogs into a metal box, which is then sealed. A the hose is connected from the running vehicle’s exhaust pipe to the metal box.

All noise from the dogs in the metal box indicates that for the duration of the 10 minutes, the dogs feel every pain possible before they stop struggling and finally expire.

This method is currently being done on a weekly basis in some provinces with the use of improvised gas chambers — using exhaust fumes from whatever type of government vehicle is available.

2. Tambucho-killing is not euthanasia.
Euthanasia means a “good, peaceful death.” Death by inhalation of vehicle exhaust fumes is a violent, excruciating death.
Whether the exhaust fumes come from a gasoline-powered engine or a diesel-powered engine is not the bone of contention. Anything that comes out of an exhaust pipe of any vehicle is not pure carbon monoxide and will cause painful death via suffocation.

3. Tambucho-killing should not be included in an Administrative Order under the “Animal Welfare Act,” which was promulgated to “protect and promote the welfare of animals in the Philippines.”

4. Tambucho-killing destroys the environment.
Consider that a brand new four-door sedan that ranks lowest in greenhouse gas emissions already emits 3.7 tons of carbon dioxide annually. Imagine the leap in carbon-foot printing if tambucho-gassing is done nationwide.

5. There are humane alternatives to tambucho-killing. Drugs can be made available, budgets can be sourced, vet groups, drug companies, LGUs, non-profit animal welfare NGOs can work together to ensure that unclaimed dogs in pounds are at least given a humane death.