JAKARTA―Indonesia’s animal-loving public rallied outside the House of Representatives in the capital Jakarta today to deliver a letter calling on the government to introduce a nationwide ban on the cruel dog and cat meat trades. More than a million companion animals are stolen, trafficked and brutally killed for meat each year across Indonesia. They endure grueling journeys to supply demand hotspots, many dying on the way from heatstroke, dehydration, disease or injuries inflicted during capture and transport. Those who survive are taken to slaughterhouses and markets where they are bludgeoned and killed in full view of other dogs and cats.
The rally, led by the Dog Meat Free Indonesia coalition and Animals Hope Shelter in collaboration with five other national groups and coalitions*, follows the high-profile interception last month of 226 dogs in Central Java being trafficked for meat. It also comes just weeks after the parliament in South Korea passed a national ban on the dog meat industry there, which campaigners hope will inspire the Indonesian government to act.
DMFI has campaigned for an end to these trades for years, conducting numerous shocking investigations into the underworld network of dog and cat thieves, traffickers, traders and slaughterers. As a result of DMFI campaigns, more than 50 cities, regencies and provinces across Indonesia―including the Special Capital Region of Jakarta―have introduced bans on the trades, but campaigners say that without a robustly enforced national ban, the trades will continue unabated.
Evidence from both Indonesia and throughout the region has demonstrated the rabies risk the dog meat trade poses, facilitating its transmission and hindering attempts to eliminate the fatal disease, jeopardising the ASEAN pledge to eliminate dog-mediated rabies by 2030.
Lola Webber, director of campaigns to End Dog Meat at Humane Society International, a DMFI member group, says: “More than a million dogs and untold numbers of cats are snatched from their homes or the streets and endure immense cruelty for the meat trade in Indonesia. This trade continues despite the fact that only a small fraction of the population eats dog and cat meat and the trade poses a very real threat to the health of the whole nation by facilitating the spread of deadly rabies and other diseases. Most people here in Indonesia want a national ban to end this cruelty once and for all, and all of us attending this rally hope that the example recently set by South Korea will inspire Indonesia to become the next country in Asia to ban this trade for good.”
A Nielsen opinion poll in January 2021, commissioned by DMFI, revealed that 93% of Indonesians support a national dog meat ban with fewer than 5% having ever consumed dog meat and 88% agreeing that the issues of the dog meat trade and consumption of dog meat need to be addressed immediately by all political parties.
Karin Franken, founder of Jakarta Animal Aid Network, a DMFI member group, said: “We are rallying here alongside national animal protection groups and activists on behalf of the millions of dog and cat-loving and concerned citizens across Indonesia, to call for a national ban on the brutal dog and cat meat trades. These trades are intolerably cruel and dangerous, and it’s time for our government to prioritize the health and welfare of both animals and people by implementing a nationwide ban.”
Karen O’Malley, Programme Manager for Ending the Dog and Cat Meat Trade at FOUR PAWS International, a DMFI member group, said: “Across Asia, an estimated 30 million cats and dogs are stolen from their homes or the streets, transported long distances in awful conditions, then brutally slaughtered for their meat, every single year. Now is the time for this cruel trade to be brought to an end, for the health and welfare of both animals and humans. We are hopeful that Indonesia, along a number of their Southeast Asian neighbours, will follow South Korea in introducing a nationwide ban.’
- The dog meat trade is now banned in more than 50 cities, regencies and provinces across Indonesia. In July 2023, Indonesia’s notorious Tomohon “Extreme” Market in North Sulawesi province introduced a ban on dog and cat slaughter and meat trade sales, following negotiations with DMFI members Humane Society International and Animal Friends Manado Indonesia.
- In addition to the 50+ locations in Indonesia, across Asia the trade in and slaughter, sale and consumption of dogs is also banned or otherwise ended in Taiwan, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Thailand, South Korea (coming into force 2027) and two major cities in mainland China.
- Dog Meat Free Indonesia is a coalition of national and international animal protection organizations comprising Jakarta Animal Aid Network, Animal Friends Jogja, Humane Society International, Animals Asia and FOUR PAWS. The coalition exposes the brutality of the trades and campaigns for a ban on the grounds of animal cruelty and risks to public health.
* Full list of participating groups: DMFI coalition, JAAN domestic, Humane Society International, FOUR PAWS International, Animals Asia, Animal Friends Jogja, Natha Satwa Nusantara, Koalisi Perlindungan Hewan Indonesia, Animal Friends Manado Indonesia, Animal Hope Shelter, Animals Don’t Speak Human, LBH Perlindungan Hewan Indonesia.
Photos and videos of dog meat trading operations in Java, copyright Dog Meat Free Indonesia