Ten dogs were rescued by the authorities when they were intercepted while being taken to an illegal slaughterhouse in Nueva Ecija in the Philippines.

According to the Nueva Ecija police, there were initially 11 dogs, but one reportedly died in transportation. Nine of the animals were kept in a small cage while one was held inside a sack, GMA News reported.

On August 22, the dogs were being transported on two tricycles to an illegal slaughterhouse in General Tinio town. Officers from the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group intercepted the tricycles during an undercover operation and arrested three suspects, including one minor.

The suspects told the police they were supposed to sell the dogs for PHP1500 (US$28) to illegal dog meat traders in Nueva Ecija.

Allan Pekitpekit, a member of the Animal Kingdom Foundation, said that there is a large market for illegal dog meat in Nueva Ecija. Pekitpekit said dog meat is not for human consumption as it is often unclean and can be a carrier of rabies.

The suspects were taken to the Gapan Police Station. The dogs, under care of The Animal Kingdom Foundation, were transported to a quarantine area where they will be observed and given medical treatment.

In the Philippines, the Animal Welfare Act prohibits the killing of animals other than cattle, pigs, goats, sheep, poultry, rabbits, carabaos, horses, deer and crocodiles. Exceptions can be made for religious, cultural, research, public safety or animal health reasons.

In Asia, consumption of dog meat remains common in China and Vietnam, which are the two biggest dog meat consumers in the world.