AUGUST 8, 2018 – A major agreement has been reached between the Indonesian government and a broad coalition of animal welfare organizations around the world that will immediately stop the dangerous trade in dog and cat meat.
In a recent meeting on public health, Indonesian officials confirmed their support for a ban on the trade in dog meat. This agreement comes just days after representative members of the Dog Meat Free Indonesia (DMFI) coalition issued a public warning that millions of global tourists could be at risk of exposure to the deadly rabies virus spread by the county’s illegal dog and cat meat trade, and just two weeks before the country hosts the 18th Asian Games that will welcome some three million tourists in the city of Jakarta alone.
Members of the DMFI coalition see the agreement as a major breakthrough in their efforts to end the brutal trade. The DMFI coalition, comprised of local and international groups including Animal Friends Jogja, Jakarta Animal Aid Network, Change For Animals Foundation, FOUR PAWS, and Humane Society International, has exposed the dangers of the dog and cat meat trade through investigations where dogs and cats were filmed being tortured and the rabies risk the trade poses to locals and tourists alike was highighted.
The announcement of the agreement came at a “National Coordination of Animal Welfare” meeting in Jakarta held on August 1st and 2nd by the Directorate of Veterinary Public Health and attended by national and regional government representatives. At the close of the meeting, all national participants agreed to issue a ban on the trade of dog and cat meat in Indonesia and to prohibit the issuance of health certification for dog and cat meat for human consumption.
In January, the DMFI also submitted a letter to President Joko Widodo calling for urgent action and signed by over 90 national and international celebrities including Cameron Diaz, Chelsea Islan, Dr. Jane Goodall, Sophia Latjuba, Simon Cowell and Ellen DeGeneres. DMFI’s global petition has also been signed by over 930,000 people from around the world.
“The extreme cruelty of Indonesia’s dog and cat meat trades is intolerable under both Indonesia and international animal welfare standards, and the government is right to be concerned about the impacts of these trades on its international reputation. With our growing awareness of animal sentience comes a greater responsibility to protect animals from cruelty. Customs evolve and the nationwide movement from within Indonesia calling for an end to these trades is proof that Indonesia is ready to banish the dog meat trade to the history books of shame and illegality. This latest announcement will be celebrated globally.”
Lola Webber, the Director at Change For Animals Foundation
“Given the growing evidence of the risk the trade poses to rabies transmission, coupled with the evidence of animal cruelty and illegality, the international community wholeheartedly welcomes and applauds this groundbreaking development in Indonesia.”
Dr. Katherine Polak from FOUR PAWS
“We greatly appreciate the government's initiative, especially the Directorate of Veterinary Public Health, for hosting this important meeting to discuss a number of animal welfare issues including the dog and cat meat trade, and applaud the huge progress that is being made. Finally, the government acknowledges that the cruelty of the dog and cat meat trade is unacceptable and must be stopped.”
Karin Franken, Jakarta Animal Aid Network
“This is such a victory for Indonesia and the Indonesian government has given us hope and motivation to collaborate with the government. We are one step closer to a dog and cat meat-free Indonesia."
Bobby Fernando of Animal Friends Jogja
“The dog and cat meat trade is utterly brutal, a risk to human health and largely fueled by crime, so we applaud the Indonesian government for pledging to end the trade following our DMFI investigations. We hope that this bold step will send a strong message to other countries across Asia, such as China, South Korea, India and Vietnam where 30 million dogs and 10 million cats suffer unimaginable cruelty for the meat trade, many of them stolen pets. We stand ready to work with the Indonesian authorities to implement a robust ban, end the slaughter, and bring us one step closer to shutting down these dreadful trades for good.”
Kitty Block, President, Humane Society International
The meeting in Jakarta last week was attended by all representatives of livestock and animal health departments, animal quarantine agencies, veterinary faculty academics, the Indonesian Veterinary Medical Association and several non-governmental organizations from all provinces in Indonesia.
Mr Syamsul Ma'arif DVM , M.Si , Director of veterinary public health warned of the impacts the dog meat trade is having on animal welfare and described the trade as “torture for animals” after reviewing DMFI’s investigation footage. He also cited the risk the trade poses to Indonesia’s international reputation, warning that “foreign countries find a low standard of animal welfare and cruelty unacceptable and will stop visiting Indonesia which is very bad for our tourism.” He added that “dog meat or any animal that is not registered as farm animals, is illegal” and that the way in which the dogs were handled and transported alone were a violation of animal welfare and must be stopped.
Indonesia’s tourism industry has already experienced the impact of international outrage when in June 2017, investigations in Bali exposed the horrors of the tourist island’s hidden dog meat trade. Tourists were unknowingly being sold dog meat under the guise of chicken satay. Further global outrage occurred in January 2018 following the DMFI’s exposé of Tomohon Market – described by DMFI investigators as “walking through hell” – which resulted in TripAdvisor removing its promotions of the city’s market stating that, “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.”
The results of this national meeting will be used as a recommendation for the Ministry of Agriculture to formulate a PERMENTAN (Minister of Agriculture regulations) regarding the ban on trade in dog and cat meat and that of exotic animals in Indonesia.
Download broadcast quality video footage and photos: www.dogmeatfreeindonesia.org/resources/rabies-and-dog-theft