BANGKOK, March 26, 2014 (AFP) - Hundreds of dog skins have been found dumped in an area of northeastern Thailand notorious for exporting canine parts as a delicacy or for use as a leather substitute - including for golf gloves, police said Wednesday.
Acting on a tip-off, police made the gruesome discovery in bags left next to a large pile of dog bones in a forest on Tuesday in Sakon Nakhon, which borders Laos.
"The skins would be bleached - some are then sent (by smugglers) to other countries to be made into gloves for playing golf," Lamai Sakolpitak, from a special police unit to suppress smuggling and the trade in animal parts, told AFP on telephone.
"Experts say that dog skins are also used for instruments such as drums," Lamai said, adding that it is illegal to kill canines to sell their parts in Thailand or abroad.
Lamai said the find was likely linked to a recent raid on two nearby makeshift factories where skins were stripped from dogs.
"Some people were afraid that we would find the skins at their houses... so they dumped them," he added.
Local campaign group, Watchdog Thailand, condemned the killing of dogs for sale, explaining that exporters pay around $10 for every live dog, including pets and strays from the surrounding areas.
They then butcher the animals, skin them and blow-torch the carcasses to preserve the meat for sale - mainly to buyers in Vietnam and China where it is a delicacy.
"The skins are used for golfing gloves, hats, small purses and wallets," a staff member of Watchdog Thailand told AFP, requesting anonymity.
"Cow-leather-products are more expensive and therefore are not always used to make small products."
The group said the raid earlier this year also yielded scores of dog carcasses and skins.
In May last year around 2,000 dogs kept in cages - and apparently destined for the dinner table - were rescued in the province.