Sickening video has been released of animal cruelty at Indonesian markets where dogs and cats are bludgeoned and blowtorched to death.
The footage was captured by Dog Meat Free Indonesia, a coalition of animal welfare groups Animal Friends Jogja, Change for Animals Foundation, Humane Society International and Jakarta Animal Aid Network.
Thousands of dogs and cats, mostly stolen pets, are killed at the markets in North Sulawesi each week, Humane Society International (HSI) says.
Campaigners from the coalition filmed at two of Indonesia’s 200 live animal markets in the province – Tomohon Extreme Market and Langowan Market – to expose the brutality.
“It was like walking through hell,” said Lola Webber, Dog Meat-Free Indonesia campaign co-ordinator.
“The dogs huddled together in cages, trembling with fear as they watched others being killed around them, waiting their turn.
“The sight of absolute terror in their eyes, the thumping of the club as they were bludgeoned, their screams of pain, and the smell of burning hair and flesh were appalling and unforgettable.”
Nicola Beynon, head of campaigns for Humane Society International in Australia, said: “More than 1 million Australian tourists visit Indonesia every year.
“This footage serves as a warning to any Australians currently planning a holiday to the country: make sure you avoid these extreme markets to steer clear from animal cruelty and the associated health risks of Indonesia’s dog meat trade.”
About 80 per cent of the slaughtered animals are imported from other provinces, which is illegal under Indonesia’s anti-rabies law that prohibits the movement of dogs across provincial borders, HSI says.
Dog Meat-Free Indonesia has launched a global campaign calling on the Indonesian government to end the slaughter, trade and consumption of dog meat.
Indonesia’s economy relies heavily on international tourism.
Bobby Fernando of Animal Friends Jogja said: “Most Indonesians don’t eat dogs and cats, and this extreme cruelty tarnishes our global reputation.
“The tourist board’s slogan of a ‘Wonderful Indonesia’ rings hollow when you’ve gazed into the eyes of a dog spattered with blood and shaking with fear.”
Dog Meat-Free Indonesia reported that it had discovered that TripAdvisor listed “Tomohon Extreme Market” as “#7 out of 12 things to do in Tomohon”.
In a letter to TripAdvisor, the coalition said: “On behalf of the millions of supporters represented globally by our organisations, we would like to express our horror at such a listing which trivialises the very serious nature of the animal suffering and cruelty involved at these markets as though it were for entertainment.”
The coalition reported the company’s reply as: “We have investigated the TripAdvisor listing page for Tomohon Extreme Market and concluded that it does not meet the standards set by our listings policy. As a result, we have permanently removed the listing from both our site and our app.”
These disclosures come after Animals Australia revealed last year that Australians were unwittingly eating dog meat in Bali and supporting a racket that steals and brutally kills the animals.
The animal rights organisation shot distressing footage, showing dogs being cruelly captured and killed before their meat is served on the Indonesian island’s beaches.
The Indonesia embassy in Canberra said it had taken note of the claims by Dog Meat-Free Indonesia and would pass this information on to the relevant authorities in Indonesia.
“Indonesia’s Criminal Code prohibits intentional and unnecessary harming of animals,” spokesperson Sade Bimantara said.
“Law number 18 of 2009 addresses animal welfare, including the requirement that measures are taken in the interest of animal welfare in relation to capture, husbandry, slaughter and transport.
“Provincial and city governments in Indonesia have been taking necessary measures to enforce the laws to prevent, deter and punish those responsible for animal cruelty.
“On the cases of animal mistreatment in the city of Bandung last year, the mayor has taken measures to review and reform the local zoo to create a better housing environment for the animals.
“In 2013, the government of Jakarta initiated a buy-back programme to buy all the monkeys used as street buskers for about $90 each. The animals were then put in a one hectare animal shelter in Jakarta’s Ragunan Zoo.
“On January 19, 2018, the police and local authorities of the city of Bandung raided a house used to slaughter dogs.
The authorities confiscated tens of frozen dog meat and are now questioning the operators of the slaughter house and owner of the house. The remains of the dogs will be given a burial.”
Indonesia Tourism has been approached for comment.