Dog Meat Free Indonesia campaigners applaud authorities cracking down on those trafficking thousands of dogs for meat every month

Humane Society International


Yoma Times Suryadi/AP Images for HSI Police rescued 53 dogs from the illegal dog meat trade in Kartasura, Sukoharjo, Central Java, Indonesia

CENTRAL JAVA, Indonesia—A man suspected of being a dog meat trader on the Indonesian island of Java has been arrested, and a delivery truck packed with 53 dogs intercepted, as part of the country’s first ever large-scale police raid on an illegal dog meat slaughterhouse. Police in Sukoharjo infiltrated a dog trafficking operation in Java in order to move in on the trader and dog butcher who has allegedly been at the centre of the dog meat trade spanning the island of Java for more than 20 years. He is suspected of coordinating shipments of hundreds of dogs for slaughter every month, and killing on average 30 dogs every day. Campaigners from the Dog Meat Free Indonesia coalition, which campaigns for a nationwide ban on the dog and cat meat trades, were at the scene to help rescue any dogs found alive. Watch the video.

The sting operation took place in the early hours of the morning on 24th November as the truck loaded with 53 terrified dogs arrived at the slaughterhouse. DMFI campaigners found the dogs tied up in hessian sacks, their mouths tightly bound with string and cable ties. Most of the dogs were emaciated, and less than one year of age, and one dog had sadly died on the gruelling journey. 

Lola Webber, from DMFI member group Humane Society International, was one of the first on the scene. She says: “My heart was pounding in my chest as we approached the truck, because I could hear the dogs’ pitiful whimpering and then saw them all tied up in sacks, their soft muzzles squeezed shut with wire. They were extremely traumatised and frightened. Many of them were still wearing collars, and were no doubt many miles from home, likely stolen pets grabbed from the streets. They will have endured the most horrific and terrifying journey, thrown in the back of a truck to be taken to this disgusting and filthy slaughterhouse where they would have been bludgeoned over the head and their throats cut. To think of the fear they must have endured is just devastating. We got there just in the nick of time because the killing usually happens in the early hours. We are immensely grateful to the authorities for taking action.  For those of us who have been campaigning for so long to end this cruel trade, it was a huge privilege to be able to rescue these animals.” 

This is only the second major dog meat trade bust by the police in Indonesia, marking what DMFI campaigners hope signals a turning point in their campaign to see the brutal and dangerous trade banned nationwide. Despite a national government pledge to crack down on the dog meat trade, it has been isolated regional governments and regencies that have so far taken the initiative to protect Indonesians from the trade. Regencies and cities such as Karanganyar, Salatiga and Sukoharjo have passed explicit bans in their jurisdictions, and DMFI hopes that another arrest and eventual prosecution will send a strong signal to other dog traders that their activities are illegal and will be punished. Last month a dog trader caught by Kulon Progo District Police was sentenced to 10 months in jail and a $USD10,000 fine (150 million IDR) after authorities intercepted his truck illegally transporting 78 dogs from West Java for slaughter and human consumption throughout Central Java..  

Mr. Tarjono Sapto Nugroho, head of crime investigation of Sukoharjo Police says: “We receive many complaints about illegal dog meat traders’ operations. People do not want this trade or slaughter in their communities. Dogs are friends, not food, and the trade is already illegal and is strictly prohibited by Islamic law. Dog meat consumption is considered culture by some, but cultures evolve and so must we. So we initiated this interception and confiscation to protect our communities and to support the Central Javan government’s efforts to eradicate the dog meat eating culture and trade.” 

The Dog Meat Free Indonesia coalition has conducted numerous investigations since 2016, exposing the brutal reality of the trade in dogs destined for human consumption. Every month, tens of thousands of these dogs are transported across Indonesia, often crossing provincial borders and in so doing, jeopardizing anti-rabies measures because of the dogs’ unknown disease status. Many dogs die during this horrific journey from heatstroke, dehydration or injuries inflicted during capture and transport.   

Karin Franken from Jakarta Animal Aid Network, who attended the raid, says: “As well as being unspeakably brutal, it’s easy to see how this trade is a public health danger too. Rabies is a grave concern in Indonesia, and Central Java is one of only eight provinces declared rabies-free, so the cities and regencies here such as Solo where thousands of dogs are slaughtered and sold in local restaurants every month, are jeopardising their rabies-free status and the health of the communities by allowing this trade to continue. This raid by the police force and a zero-tolerance approach by the authorities is absolutely vital to protect citizens from the public health risk posed by the dog meat trade. We now need other regencies and provinces across Indonesia to follow this lead and crack down on this dangerous and illegal trade.” 

The 53 dogs rescued from the slaughterhouse received emergency veterinary treatment from the DMFI team before travelling to DMFI’s temporary shelter where they will receive loving care to get them back to health. The chances of being able to reunite them with their families is likely to be slim, but DMFI will make local appeals. The plan is that some of the dogs will be adopted locally among Indonesia’s passionate dog-loving community, while others will be flown to Humane Society International’s temporary shelter in Canada from where the organisation hopes to find them forever homes.  

Opinion polls consistently show that the vast majority of Indonesians don’t eat dog, with a mere 4.5% of the population doing so, and 93% of Indonesians in support of a ban nationwide.  

Police confirmed at the scene that they anticipate the suspect will be prosecuted later this year for violating the Law of The Republic of Indonesia Number 41 Year 2014, Article 89, regarding Animal Husbandry and Animal Health, with penalties of at least two years and maximum  five years imprisonment, and/or a fine at least 150,000,000 Rupiah ($USD 10,500). The police have also pledged to further investigate others involved in illegal operations involving the trade and slaughtering of dogs throughout their jurisdiction. 

Dog meat trade facts: 

  • There are widely publicised reports directly linking the dog meat trade to rabies transmission in many parts of Asia where the dog meat trade operates, including Indonesia. Scientific reports have documented rabies-positive dogs being sold and slaughtered in markets in Indonesia, as well as in restaurants and slaughterhouses in China and Viet Nam.   
  • Dog theft for the meat trade is a serious problem in Indonesia. Dog Meat Free Indonesia has interviewed many residents who have described their terrifying ordeal with armed traders stealing their pets at night. Despite the obvious law-breaking, thefts are rarely taken seriously by law enforcement, so the thieves often go unpunished. 
  • Across Asia, opposition to the dog and cat meat trades is increasing, with an ever-growing number of countries and territories (Taiwan, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Thailand and two major cities in mainland China) banning the trade in and slaughter, sale and consumption of dogs. In September, South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in suggested it could be time to consider a dog meat ban, and in November it was announced that his cabinet will meet to discuss this further. 
  • The Dog Meat Free Indonesia campaign comprises Humane Society International, Animals Asia, FOUR PAWS, Animal Friends Jogja and Jakarta Animal Aid Network. Their campaign has received support from global and Indonesian superstars including a letter to President Joko Widodo in 2018 calling for action to end the country’s dog and cat meat trades signed by Simon Cowell, Sophia Latjuba, Yeslin Wang, Nadia Mulya, Lawrence Enzela, Cameron Diaz, Chelsea Islan, Ellen DeGeneres and Pierce Brosnan. 

Download Photos/Video 

ENDS 

Media Contacts: 

For further information and interview requests: 

  • In Indonesia: Lola Webber, Humane Society International’s End Dog Meat campaign director, and Dog Meat Free Indonesia international coordinator; Tel: +6281337408768 E-mail: Lwebber@hsi.orgKarin Franken, national coordinator Dog Meat Free Indonesia Coalition Tel: +628212287794 E-mail: jaan_adopt@yahoo.com 
  • In United KingdomWendy Higgins, Humane Society International, director of international media: whiggins@hsi.org   

Historic prosecution comes after police intercepted truck with 78 dogs

Humane Society International


Dog Meat Free Indonesia

Kulon Progo, INDONESIA—A dog meat trader in Indonesia has been found guilty of breaking the law and sentenced to a 10 month jail term and $USD10,000 fine (150 million IDR) in the country’s first ever dog meat prosecution. The trader was caught by Kulon Progo District Police in May this year, transporting 78 dogs in the back of a truck. Only 62 dogs survived the ordeal. The dogs were trafficked from Garut in West Java, via Kulon Progo and headed for slaughter for human consumption throughout Central Java. The interception comes after years of campaigning by the Dog Meat Free Indonesia coalition, of which Humane Society International is a founding member. The coalition hopes this prosecution will send a strong signal to traders across Indonesia that the dog meat business is illegal and will be punished. DMFI is pushing for an explicit nationwide ban on the brutal trade.

The dogs in this case had all been stolen from the streets where pet dogs freely roam. Many were still wearing collars whilst bound on the truck to be transported on a gruelling journey lasting more than 10 hours. The trader was found guilty of violating Article 89 paragraph 2 in conjunction with Article 46 paragraph 5 of Law N0. 41 of 2014, concerning Animal Husbandry and Health because the truck illegally crossed provincial borders, with no record of the animals’ disease or vaccination status.

The Dog Meat Free Indonesia coalition has conducted numerous investigations since 2016, exposing the brutal reality of the trade in dogs destined for human consumption. Every month, tens of thousands of these dogs are taken from the streets and illegally transported in many parts of Indonesia. Many die during this horrific journey from heatstroke, dehydration or injuries inflicted during capture and transport. Those who survive are taken to slaughterhouses where they are beaten and strung upside down to bleed out while still conscious or beaten to death in public markets in some parts of the country, in full view of other terrified dogs who await their turn.

Bali-based Lola Webber, who is End Dog Meat campaign director for DMFI member group Humane Society International, welcomed the news: “This verdict sends a strong message to dog meat traders that this brutal trade is illegal and won’t be tolerated in Indonesia. Ultimately we want to see an enforced nationwide ban on Indonesia’s dog meat trade, but in the meantime this prosecution will also hopefully encourage the authorities in other provinces to use existing laws at their disposal to crack down on dog meat traders who continue to operate in their jurisdictions. There is no excuse for tolerating this illegal cruelty or the dangers the trade pose to public health and safety.

As well as being unspeakably brutal, it’s easy to see how this trade is the perfect breeding ground for the next serious public health disaster. Dogs are routinely slaughtered in public alongside all manner of wild and domestic species in markets in North Sulawesi. New pathogens could easily jump to humans if a dog trader was wounded during the day’s slaughter, a local consumer ate cross-contaminated dog meat bought at a nearby stall, or a tourist breathed in microscopic blood droplets as they sight-see the markets. In the face of such an obvious public health and animal welfare risk, we hope this will be the first of many prosecutions. We cannot allow the dog meat trade to thrive across Asia if we hope to protect the public from future pandemics.”

Dog meat trade facts:

  • Opinion polls show that only a small minority of Indonesia’s population (4.5%) consume dog meat and only a very small number of those involved in the trade consider dog meat to be their main source of income.
  • Rabies is a grave concern in Indonesia, with just eight out of 34 provinces declared rabies-free. Cities in Central Java such as Surakarta (“Solo”) where > 13,700 dogs are slaughtered and sold in dozens of local restaurants each month, are jeopardising their rabies-free status by allowing dogs of unknown disease and vaccination status to be imported from surrounding provinces to supply dog meat, despite opinion polls showing just 3% of Central Javans consume it.
  • The illegal movement of large numbers of dogs of unknown disease status into densely populated areas contravenes rabies control recommendations by leading human and animal health experts including the World Health Organization, the Pan American Health Organization, and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations as well as national disease prevention legislation.
  • There are widely publicised reports directly linking the dog meat trade to rabies transmission in many parts of Asia where the dog meat trade operates, including Indonesia. Scientific reports have documented rabies-positive dogs being sold and slaughtered in markets in Indonesia, as well as in restaurants and slaughterhouses in China and Viet Nam.
  • Dog theft for the meat trade is a serious problem in Indonesia. Dog Meat Free Indonesia has interviewed many residents who have described their terrifying ordeal with armed traders stealing their pets at night. Despite the obvious law-breaking, thefts are rarely taken seriously by law enforcement, so the thieves go unpunished.
  • Across Asia, opposition to the dog and cat meat trades is increasing, with an ever-growing number of countries and territories (Taiwan, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Thailand and two major cities in mainland China) banning the trade in and slaughter, sale and consumption of dogs; and in Indonesia, regencies and cities such as Karanganyar, Salatiga and Sukoharjo have already passed explicit bans in their jurisdictions amidst concerns for animal welfare and public health and safety.
  • The Dog Meat Free Indonesia campaign has received support from global and Indonesian superstars including a letter to President Joko Widodo in 2018 calling for action to end the country’s dog and cat meat trades signed by Simon Cowell, Sophia Latjuba, Yeslin Wang, Nadia Mulya, Lawrence Enzela, Cameron Diaz, Chelsea Islan, Ellen DeGeneres and Pierce Brosnan.

Download Video of Solo Investigations  

Download Photos of Solo Investigations  

ENDS

Media Contacts:

  • Lola Webber, Humane Society International, Dog Meat Free Indonesia international coordinator: +6281337408768;  Lwebber@hsi.org
  • Karin Franken, national coordinator Dog Meat Free Indonesia Coalition: +628212287794; jaan_adopt@yahoo.com

Humane Society International


Dog Meat Free Indonesia Coalition

KULON PROGO, Indonesia—Indonesia’s first ever prosecution of dog meat traders under animal health laws is set to go ahead, officials have confirmed, in what the country’s animal campaigners hope will be a major turning point in the demise of the brutal trade. Kulon Progo District Police intercepted the gang in May this year when they were illegally transporting 78 dogs bound and gagged in the back of a truck. The dogs were headed for slaughter for human consumption throughout Central Java. This was the first ever such interception in Indonesia, and followed discussions with the Dog Meat Free Indonesia coalition which campaigns for a nationwide ban on the brutal trade.

The Kulon Progo District Attorney’s Office confirmed in a statement its intention to prosecute the traders who are considered to have violated Article 89 of Law No. 18/ 2009 concerning Livestock and Animal Health, with a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment or a maximum fine of 1.5 billion IDR (over $100,000 USD); as well as Article 140 of Law No. 18/ 2021 on Food, with a maximum sentence of two years imprisonment or a maximum fine of 4 billion IDR (over $275,000 USD).

The dogs in this case had all been stolen from the streets where pet dogs freely roam. Many were still wearing collars whilst bound on the truck to be transported from West Java on a gruelling journey lasting more than 10 hours. The traders illegally crossed provincial borders with the dogs, with no record of the animals’ disease or vaccination status. For example, Solo is an epicentre for much of Java’s dog meat trade, with 85 street stalls selling dog meat, brutally slaughtering an estimated 13,700 dogs each month in filthy makeshift slaughterhouses with no way of ensuring the meat is safe for consumers.

The Dog Meat Free Indonesia coalition has conducted numerous investigations over the past several years, exposing the brutal reality of the trade in dogs destined for human consumption. Every month, tens of thousands of these dogs are taken from the streets and illegally transported in many parts of Indonesia. Many die during this horrific journey from heatstroke, dehydration or injuries inflicted during capture and transport. Those who survive are taken to slaughterhouses where they are beaten and strung upside down to bleed out while still conscious or beaten to death in public markets in some parts of the country, in full view of other terrified dogs who await their turn.

Lola Webber, Humane Society International’s dog meat campaign director, who is based in Indonesia, says: “There are thousands of dog trucks across Indonesia just like this one, illegally transporting terrified and disease-vulnerable dogs across provincial borders to slaughterhouses and markets. We have documented first-hand dogs being slaughtered in public alongside myriad wild and domestic species in markets in North Sulawesi. It is easy to see how this trade is not only utterly brutal, but also the perfect breeding ground for the next serious public health disaster. New pathogens could jump to humans in a number of ways – a dog trader wounded during the day’s slaughter, a local consumer eating cross-contaminated dog meat bought at a nearby stall, or a tourist breathing in microscopic blood droplets as they sight-see the markets. So in the face of such an obvious public health and animal welfare risk, it is good to see what we hope to be the first of many interceptions and prosecutions. We cannot allow the dog meat trade to thrive across Asia if we hope to protect the public from future pandemics.”

“We commend Kulon Progo District Police for setting such a good example for the rest of the country by taking direct action, and we congratulate Karanganyar and Sukoharjo Regencies and Salatiga City for explicitly prohibiting the trade in their jurisdictions on the grounds of public and animal health and welfare. We now need to see the same level of activity across Indonesia to stamp out this cruel, dangerous and unwelcome trade.”

Dog meat trade facts:

  • Opinion polls show that only a small minority of Indonesia’s population (4.5%) consume dog meat and only a very small number of those involved in the trade rely on dog meat as their main source of income.
  • Rabies is a grave concern in Indonesia, with just eight out of 34 provinces declared rabies-free. Provinces such as Central Java are jeopardising their rabies-free status by allowing dogs of unknown disease and vaccination status to be imported from surrounding provinces to supply dog meat, despite opinion polls showing just 3% of Central Javans consume it.
  • The illegal movement of large numbers of dogs of unknown disease status into densely populated areas contravenes rabies control recommendations by leading human and animal health experts including the World Health Organization, the Pan American Health Organization, and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations as well as national disease prevention legislation.
  • There are widely publicised reports directly linking the dog meat trade to rabies transmission in many parts of Asia where the dog meat trade operates, including Indonesia. Scientific reports have documented rabies-positive dogs being sold and slaughtered in markets in Indonesia, as well as in restaurants and slaughterhouses in China and Viet Nam.
  • Dog theft for the meat trade is a serious problem in Indonesia. Dog Meat Free Indonesia has interviewed many residents who have described their terrifying ordeal with armed traders stealing their pets at night. Despite the obvious law-breaking, thefts are rarely taken seriously by law enforcement, so the thieves go unpunished.
  • Across Asia, opposition to the dog and cat meat trades is increasing, with an ever-growing number of countries and territories (Taiwan, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Thailand and two major cities in mainland China) banning the trade in and slaughter, sale and consumption of dogs.
  • The Dog Meat Free Indonesia campaign has received support from global and Indonesian superstars including a letter to President Joko Widodo in 2018 calling for action to end the country’s dog and cat meat trades signed by Simon Cowell, Sophia Latjuba, Yeslin Wang, Nadia Mulya, Lawrence Enzela, Cameron Diaz, Chelsea Islan, Ellen DeGeneres and Pierce Brosnan.

Download Videos of Solo Investigations

Download Photos of Solo Investigations

ENDS

Media Contacts:

  • Lola Webber, Humane Society International: +6281337408768; E-mail: Lwebber@hsi.org
  • Karin Franken, national coordinator Dog Meat Free Indonesia CoalitionTel: +628212287794 E-mail: jaan_adopt@yahoo.com

40 million dogs and cats killed annually despite rabies risk

Humane Society International / Global


Hoang Xuan Thuy Live dogs being sold by a dog trader in Vietnam May 2020

WASHINGTON—Animal protection groups from around the world have joined forces to urge governments across Asia to act urgently to permanently shut down unsanitary and brutal dog and cat meat markets and trades, amid growing global concern about zoonotic diseases and public health danger zones. Member organisations from the Asia for Animals coalition, including Humane Society International, FOUR PAWS International and Change for Animals Foundation, say the dog and cat meat trades pose a serious danger from the deadly rabies virus and other notifiable diseases, such as cholera, with dogs and cats often traded and slaughtered in the very same wildlife markets as wild animals who are the focus of COVID-19 concern.

Download video & photos (taken April, May 2020) of dogs on sale at markets in China, Vietnam and Indonesia.

An estimated 30 million dogs and 10 million cats are killed every year for the meat trade, mainly in China, Vietnam, Indonesia, Cambodia, India, and Laos. Most of this trade is in dogs and cats stolen from homes and back yards, as well as owned and roaming dogs snatched from the streets, with well-established links to the spread of rabies, cholera and trichinosis.

Kelly O’Meara, vice president of companion animals at Humane Society International, said: “Across the globe, nations are united in a collective response to the deadly COVID-19 pandemic, including calls to close wildlife markets that can act as a petri dish for zoonotic diseases. Within that context, it is only responsible for governments across Asia to also tackle the dog and cat meat trades that, while not connected to COVID-19, undoubtedly pose their own significant human health risks, such as the spread of trichinosis, cholera and rabies that kill tens of thousands of people every year. With hundreds of dogs at a time crammed onto trucks and driven across provincial and even international borders to filthy slaughterhouses and markets where these highly stressed animals are then displayed and slaughtered alongside myriad wild and domestic species, it’s easy to see how this trade is not only utterly brutal, but also the perfect breeding ground for the next serious public health disaster. New pathogens could jump to humans in a number of ways – a dog trader wounded during the day’s slaughter, a local consumer eating cross-contaminated dog meat bought at a nearly stall, or a tourist breathing in microscopic blood droplets as they sight-see in the market. This is no time for complacency or turning a blind eye; the dog and cat meat trades need to be shut down with urgency.”

The rabies virus has been found in brain specimens of dogs traded for human consumption in China, Vietnam and Indonesia. Not only is there a risk in handling the dogs, and in the extremely unsanitary slaughter and butchery process, but there is also some reason for concern surrounding consumption itself, likely through contamination due to unhygienic conditions. The cholera bacterium has also been found in samples of dog meat, equipment and waste-water released from slaughterhouses in Hanoi, Vietnam. There have also been historical reports in Vietnam and the Philippines of patients with signs of rabies infection who had been involved in preparing and eating dogs and cats who may have been infected.

In a statement to the Dog Meat Free Indonesia coalition, the United States’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed, “There are reports that dog-meat markets have a higher rate of rabies than the general dog population, as people often sell dogs to the markets when they act sick; some of these sick dogs have rabies.… Furthermore, there are at least three published reports of humans acquiring rabies from activities associated with the dog meat market, emphasizing that the risk is very real.”  

In many countries, the trade in dogs and cats for meat is largely fueled by criminal activity. Lola Webber, from the Change for Animals Foundation, says: “The dog and cat meat trades in Indonesia rely on criminal activity and there is increasing frustration among pet owners at the lack of action by law enforcement to deter or punish armed thieves who terrorise neighbourhoods and steal people’s dogs and cats. Once stolen, the animals are sold to slaughterhouses, markets and restaurants, kept in squalid conditions often alongside many other species of animals from various sources. The slaughter of dogs and cats is brutal, they are bludgeoned in the streets and then blowtorched, often whilst still alive. The streets are covered in pools of blood and the remains of other slaughtered animals. The cruelty alone is horrifying, but the risk of disease transmission is huge for anyone trading, slaughtering, butchering or even visiting these live animal markets. The Indonesian Government pledged it would ban the trade in August 2018, but we’ve seen very little commitment for action from provincial or central government. If COVID-19 isn’t a wake-up call, I don’t know what will be. If you told me tomorrow that there was a disease outbreak originating in one of the markets in North Sulawesi, I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised, and with the number of tourists visiting these places, the result could be terrifying.”

In Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia, China and parts of India, it is not unusual to see dogs and cats sold and slaughtered alongside other species including wildlife such as bats, snakes and rats, as well as other animals such as chickens and ducks. With growing global concern regarding the emergence of novel and deadly viruses from markets where multiple species are sold, the campaign groups are urging governments to take action. These markets provide an ideal environment for viral recombination and transmission between species, with potentially deadly results.

Cambodia’s government is being urged to publicly dispel myths that dog meat has medicinal benefits, including the belief it can ward off viruses including the one that causes COVID-19. Veterinarian Katherine Polak with FOUR PAWS in Southeast Asia, says: “The proliferation of completely unfounded, unscientific misinformation about dog meat is really worrying, with physicians even recommending dog meat to patients to treat various ailments. While we completely appreciate that cultures and habits are not easily changed, the government has a responsibility to safeguard the health of the nation as well as comply with global animal welfare standards. In Cambodia, dogs are being bludgeoned and drowned in fetid drowning pits, with total disregard for rabies which is endemic across Asia, while the government continues to do very little to protect people or animals.

 Asia overview

  • Vietnam: An estimated 5 million dogs and 1 million cats are killed every year despite laws and regulations being in place to make it illegal. Implementation is extremely poor, with traders having a total disregard for law enforcement. In 2018, Hanoi government officials called for an end to the dog meat industry, citing health and public image concerns. A pledge to phase out the slaughtering and trading of dogs for meat by 2021 is yet to be actioned, but a nationwide crackdown is needed to avoid the trade simply shifting elsewhere.
  • India: The cruel transport and slaughter of dogs violates several provisions of India’s Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, and the consumption of dogs is illegal under the Food Safety and Standard Regulations in India, and yet in the north-eastern states of Nagaland, Mizoram, Tripura and others, an estimated ten thousand dogs a year continue to be brutally bludgeoned to death in ‘killing pits’. Dogs are also smuggled from across Assam, West Bengal within India and Bangladesh and Myanmar from outside of India.
  • Indonesia: An estimated 2 million dogs and significant number of cats are killed a year, with many hotspots trading tens of thousands of dogs every month. In addition to slaughterhouses and dog meat-selling restaurants operating throughout most provinces of Indonesia, in dog meat-eating hotspots such as North Sulawesi, live dogs and cats are sold and slaughtered in live animal markets, where conditions are incredibly unsanitary, and domestic and wildlife animals and meats are sold alongside each other. The Dog Meat Free Indonesia (DMFI) coalition has conducted nationwide investigations documenting the inherent cruelty, illegality and dangers of the dog and cat meat trades.
  • China: An estimated 10+ million dogs and 4 million cats are killed for the meat trade annually, the vast majority of whom are stolen pets. There is no nationwide animal protection legislation in China, however in recent weeks the Chinese cities of Shenzhen and Zhuhai have introduced city-wide bans on dog and cat meat consumption, and the national government also publicly stated that dogs are considered companions not livestock. This distinction could inspire other cities in mainland China to follow this lead and introduce bans.
  • South Korea: Up to 2 million dogs a year are intensively reared on farms, without veterinary treatment or basic welfare such as water provision. Humane Society International works co-operatively with the growing number of dog farmers seeking an exit from the trade, to close dog farms and rescue dogs. Many dogs HSI encounters on these farms are former pets abandoned at the farm gates, or dogs originally bred for the pet trade.
  • Cambodia: Up to 3 million dogs are killed each year in the Kingdom, with an unknown number exported into Vietnam for consumption. According to a market research study conducted by FOUR PAWS, a total of 53.6% of respondents indicated that they have eaten dog meat at some time in their lives (72.4% of men and 34.8% of women), however the practice remains controversial among Khmer people. Supplying the demand, dogs are routinely snatched from the streets, stolen from homes, or traded for aluminium pots and pans and trafficked across the country to slaughterhouses and restaurants. There are more than 100 dog meat restaurants in the capital city of Phnom Penh alone, most having opened in the last 2-3 years.
  • Lao PDR: The consumption of dogs in Laos remains relatively undocumented. However, reports of theft and trafficking of dogs for consumption are common. Laos lacks any animal welfare laws, including those that would prohibit killing dogs for consumption.

Download video & photos (taken April, May 2020) of dogs on sale at markets in China, Vietnam and Indonesia.

ENDS

Media contact: Wendy Higgins, Director of International Media: whiggins@hsi.org

“There is no future in this dog meat industry,” says farmer Kim

Humane Society International / Global


Jean Chung/for HSI Dogs are shown locked in a cage at a dog meat farm in Hongseong, South Korea, on Saturday, February 8, 2020.

SEOUL—More than 70 dogs found languishing on a South Korean dog meat farm by animal charity Humane Society International have been given a second chance by the farmer’s decision to quit the dog meat industry once and for all. Mr. Nakseon Kim has been breeding dogs for nearly 40 years, but he jumped at the chance to leave dog farming behind when HSI offered to help him start a new life growing cabbages and other vegetables instead.

Amid growing South Korean opposition to eating dogs and a series of new regulations and court rulings cracking down on the industry, farmers like Mr. Kim are increasingly looking for an exit strategy but with one request – to save their dogs. After years of sending the animals to slaughter, Mr. Kim is not the first farmer to be relieved to learn that HSI rescues, rehabilitates and seeks happy homes for all the dogs.

“It may sound odd but I started dog farming because I like dogs,” said Mr. Kim, “I’ve never actually been a big fan of dog meat myself. I had a few dogs so I began breeding them and when I had 20 or 30 I started to sell them because I thought it would be good money but it hasn’t really worked out that way. I earn nothing from this dog farm, and pressure from the government is increasing and it’s not a good business at all.”

On his property in Hongseong, Mr. Kim breeds tosas, Jindos, poodles, beagles, huskies, golden retrievers, Pomeranians, Chihuahuas and Boston terriers for two abusive industries – the meat trade and the puppy mill trade. In rows of dilapidated cages, surrounded by animal waste, junk and garbage, some dogs are destined for the slaughterhouse, and others the unscrupulous puppy mill trade. Despite Korea’s dog meat industry attempting to claim a difference between pet dogs and “meat dogs”, the reality is they are all just dogs whose fate ultimately depends on where greatest profits can be made.

Nara Kim, HSI/Korea’s dog meat campaigner, said: “Unfortunately, it is still very common in South Korea to see live puppies for sale in pet shop windows. But what most Koreans will be shocked to learn is that these same puppies could easily have ended up being killed for human consumption instead. Whether they live or die, they are all born in this miserable place, their mothers intensively bred over and over until they are exhausted and eventually sold to slaughterhouses. I’m so glad that this nightmare has ended for these lovely dogs, but until the government commits to phase out this dreadful industry, the nightmare continues for millions more. As Koreans we need to be their voice and call for an end to the dog farming and dog meat industries.”

Marking the 16th dog farm that HSI has closed since its farmer transition program began in 2015, all the dogs will eventually be flown to partner shelters in Canada and the United States to seek adoptive homes. First, they are being relocated to a temporary boarding facility in South Korea while the organization waits for COVID-19 travel restrictions to relax. Once safely off the farm, the dogs will immediately receive a full veterinary check-up and settle into their temporary quarters where they can begin their rehabilitation.

HSI hopes its model for change will hasten an end to the controversial and cruel industry by demonstrating to the Korean government that a farmer-supported phase out of farms can work.

Mr. Kim said: “It’s too much work and I’ve got too old to be doing this for no profit. I just want to get some rest from all of this now. I’ve had enough, especially now that I have to pay for dog food since the local school decided to stop giving me free kitchen waste. I don’t think there are many people in South Korea who are willing to run dog meat farms anymore. There is no future in this dog meat industry. Once HSI helps me close my dog farm, I think I will start to grow crops instead like lettuce, cabbage, or other greens to sell to restaurants. That’s a business with a future.”

Dog meat consumption has been steadily declining in South Korea, and is banned or severely restricted in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand, Singapore and the Philippines. In 2018 both Indonesia and Vietnam’s capital city Hanoi pledged an end to the dog meat trade, and most recently in April 2020 the Chinese cities of Shenzhen and Zhuhai banned dog and cat meat consumption following a public statement by the Chinese government that dogs are considered companions and not livestock. As global pressure builds for countries across Asia to permanently close wildlife wet markets amid coronavirus risks, the array of undeniable human health risks posed by the dog meat trade in South Korea and across Asia, is strengthening calls for action across the continent.

Facts:   

  • Up to 2 million dogs a year are bred and raised on thousands of dog meat farms across South Korea.
  • Dog meat consumption is declining in South Korea, particularly among younger generations, and most Koreans don’t eat it regularly. A June 2018 survey by Gallup Korea showed that 70% of South Koreans say they will not eat dog meat in future. Still, dog meat remains popular during the Bok days of summer in July and August based on its perceived curative properties during the hot and humid summer months.
  • There has been a series of recent crackdowns by authorities to curb the dog meat industry. In November 2018, HSI/Korea assisted Seongnam City Council in shutting down Taepyeong dog slaughterhouse (the country’s largest dog slaughterhouse), followed in July 2019 by the closure of Gupo dog meat market in Busan (South Korea’s second largest dog meat market after Moran market, which has also closed), and a declaration in October last year by the mayor of Seoul that the city is “dog slaughter free”. Most recently, last November HSI’s partner group Korea Animal Rights Advocates (KARA) won a Supreme Court case against a dog farmer who electrocuted dogs in violation of the Animal Protection Act, a judgement that could have huge implications for an industry that relies almost entirely on this brutal and protracted killing method.
  • HSI has rescued more than 2,000 dogs from South Korea’s meat industry. At each dog meat farm closure, HSI has a veterinarian test for the presence of the H3N2 virus (“canine influenza”), at the time the dogs receive their rabies, DHPP and coronavirus vaccines. HSI also vaccinates the dogs for distemper and parvo. HSI then quarantines the dogs on the farm or at a shelter for at least 30 days, and the dogs are health certified again prior to transport overseas.

Download broll video and photos of the rescue.

ENDS

Media contacts
United Kingdom and international media: Wendy Higgins, whiggins@hsi.org, +44 (0)7989 972 423
United States: Nancy Hwa, nhwa@hsi.org, 1-202-596-0808
South Korea: Nara Kim, nkim@hsi.org

Indonesia, India, Vietnam among countries where wild animal markets pose a disease risk

Humane Society International / Global


Masked man in Hong Kong market
Jayne Russell/ZUMA Wire/Alamy Live News

WASHINGTON —Wildlife campaigners across the globe from animal charity Humane Society International have called for an urgent worldwide ban on the wildlife trade after China’s announcement that it will prohibit the buying and selling of wild animals for food in light of the mounting threat associated with coronavirus. The capture, market trade, and butchery of wild animal species for human consumption happens across large parts of Asia and Africa such as Indonesia, India, Vietnam, and West, Central and East Africa, as well as in Latin America, says HSI, posing a very real threat of spreading zoonotic and potentially fatal diseases. Governments around the world must take China’s lead and shut down this trade for good. HSI leadership in South Africa, Nepal, India, South Korea, Canada, the United States, Australia, Guatemala, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, the United Kingdom, Honduras, El Salvador and Costa Rica have joined the call for global action.

Jeffrey Flocken, HSI president, says: “China has taken decisive action to halt the wildlife trade for human consumption implicated in the global coronavirus crisis, but it would be a grave mistake for us to think that the threat is isolated to China. The capture and consumption of wild animals is a global trade that causes immense suffering for hundreds of thousands of animals every year, including endangered wildlife species being traded to the brink of extinction. The trade can also spawn global health crises like the current coronavirus, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome and the deadly bird flu. Wildlife markets across the globe, but particularly in Asia and Africa, are widespread and could easily be the start of disease outbreaks in the future.”

In the north eastern states of India, wild species such as the Chinese pangolin and several species of wild birds are routinely sold for human consumption. Bengal monitor lizard meat is also consumed across India, driven mainly by the superstitious belief that the fat stored in the tail can cure arthritis, and meat from the Indian flap-shell turtle is also popular across the country, despite both species being listed under Schedule 1 of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. In some north Indian states, owl eyes are also consumed for their perceived medicinal benefits for human vision.

Indonesia also has hundreds of “extreme” animal markets where the conditions are the same as those described by scientists as the perfect breeding ground for new and deadly zoonotic viruses, such as coronaviruses. Wild animals are sold and slaughtered in public and unsanitary conditions. The trade takes place alongside that of dogs and cats which itself has already been shown to pose a risk of rabies transmission. In January this year, Humane Society International wrote to Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo as part of the Dog Meat Free Indonesia coalition, calling for urgent measures to ensure that Indonesia does not become the next point of origin of a deadly virus by tackling the risk posed by these animal markets.

Mr. Flocken adds: “We already know that dog and cat meat markets in Indonesia are a hotbed for disease transmission, and we also know from our investigations that rabies-positive dogs are being sold and slaughtered for consumption in these markets. Given that dogs are caged and slaughtered alongside wild animals such as snakes, bats and rats, Indonesia must surely take preventative measures now to ensure it does not become the next point of origin of a deadly virus. Similar risks can be observed in wild animal markets across the globe and especially in Asia and Africa. The trade in wildlife is a global crisis that calls for global action, now.”

Wild meat consumption is also an issue in Vietnam where wild pig, goat and bird species are eaten as well as softshell turtle, bear, snake, pangolin and civet, and snake wine is also consumed. A number of studies conducted in recent years reveal that a significant percentage of the Vietnamese population consumes wild animals.

Bush meat, including that derived from primates, is still consumed in many parts of Africa. Earlier this month, the Tanzanian government endorsed the establishment of butcheries specifically for the bushmeat trade. And in South Africa, approximately 12,000 lions are captive bred in deplorable conditions, to facilitate the export of lion skeletons to Southeast Asia for tiger bone wine. Lions are hosts for the tuberculosis (TB) virus, which can survive in bones ground to powder.

In Guatemala and El Salvador, meat from crocodile, iguana and other reptiles is often eaten during Lent despite it being illegal to do so.

This week, the National People’s Congress, the Chinese national legislature, elevated an originally temporary ban on wildlife trade for human consumption from an administrative action to the level of a national law. Specifically, the announcement, issued as an emergency measure, creates a comprehensive ban on the trade in terrestrial wild animals bought and sold for food, including those who are bred or reared in captivity.

Download video footage of Indonesia’s wild animal and dog/cat meat markets here: https://www.dropbox.com/home/Indonesia%20Extreme%20Markets

ENDS

Media contact: Wendy Higgins whiggins@hsi.org

Humane Society International


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