Harrowing nationwide investigations by animal campaigners from the newly-launched “Dog Meat-Free Indonesia” coalition, have exposed the horrifying brutality and suffering endured by up to a million dogs every year for Indonesia's dog meat trade. The coalition campaign has released a video launched today, Thursday 2 November, that shows dogs, including stolen family pets, being snatched from the streets and crammed onto the back of trucks with their legs and mouths bound with string. The terrified dogs are driven for hours to supply markets, slaughterhouses and restaurants, where they are brutally beaten and then bled out for their meat in front of each other.
The World Health Organization has also identified Indonesia’s dog meat trade as a major contributor to lethal rabies in the country.
The launch of the “Dog Meat-Free Indonesia” campaign by Animal Friends Jogja, Change for Animals Foundation, Humane Society International and Jakarta Animal Aid Network, has received the backing of some of Indonesia’s best known stars, – actresses Chelsea Islan and Sophia Latjuba, and singer Gamaliel Tapiheru - and well as British actors Ricky Gervais, Joanna Lumley and Downton Abbey Peter Egan.
The celebrities star in a powerful new PSA video called “I Didn’t Know” which campaigners hope will influence hearts and minds towards ending this trade.
Most people in Indonesia don’t eat dogs, and calls are growing to end the trade because of animal welfare and human health concerns.
In addition to being immensely cruel, the Humane Society International says that "Indonesia’s dog meat trade also poses a serious human health risk to all sectors of society, because of rabies transmission, given that it is the only known mass and unregulated movement of dogs of unknown disease-status from different cities, provinces and islands."
The HSI states that: "The dog meat trade in Indonesia operates in breach of existing laws and regulations to safeguard public health and safety, as well as provisions to protect animals from cruelty; and is in breach of rabies control recommendations from leading experts including the World Health Organization (WHO), World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
"There are growing concerns that rabies-positive dogs are being moved to supply highly-populated cities such as Jakarta and Jogjakarta– that have worked hard to secure their rabies-free status’ – and dog meat eating hot spots throughout the nation.
"The unsanitary conditions of slaughterhouses and the unknown health status of dogs slaughtered for consumption are of added and equal concern, with anyone involved in the dog meat trade – traders, slaughterers, vendors and consumers – at further risk of being exposed to rabies and other zoonotic diseases.
In July this year, Bali's Governor Pastika issued an official letter ordering a crackdown on the dog meat trade on this Indonesian island, following a harrowing investigation. The letter was issued on the basis of animal cruelty, the risk to public health and to the island's reputation as a tourist destination, all factors that apply equally to the rest of Indonesia.
“Although dog meat is only consumed by a minority of Indonesians – estimated at less than 7% – and only a tiny fraction of society are reliant on it as a primary source of income, the dog meat trade threatens the health and safety of the entire nation. If Indonesia is to achieve its goal to eliminate rabies by 2020, urgent action is required by the government and all sectors of society.” says Karin Franken, Jakarta Animal Aid Network
Humane Society International Kelly O'Meara comments: “Indonesia’s dog meat trade is as brutal as it is unsafe, threatening to undo all of Indonesia’s hard work towards achieving rabies-free status by 2020. The Dog Meat-Free Indonesia coalition’s investigations have exposed the horrifying suffering that dogs caught up in the dog meat trade endure.”
Actor, comedian and animal advocate Ricky Gervais has joined the campaign, urging people to support the cause. “I didn’t know the magnitude, literally millions of dogs are slaughtered for food in Indonesia every year. It has to be condemned, and we have to stop it. Now that you know, please help us help them, thank you.”, he said.