Celebrities including Billie Eilish, Charlize Theron, Clint Eastwood, Kim Basinger alongside Indonesian mega-stars call for end to cruel dog and cat meat trade in Indonesia
More than 30 stars from the world of acting, fashion and music―including Billie Eilish, Charlize Theron, Clint Eastwood, Kim Basinger, Courteney Cox, Ricky Gervais, Andie McDowell, Jeff Bridges and Zooey Deschanel―have called on President Joko Widodo to end Indonesia’s brutal dog and cat meat trades following the rescue of desperate animals from one of the country’s most notorious markets, Tomohon Extreme Market.
More than 130,000 dogs and countless cats annually are slaughtered in public markets across the Indonesia’s island of Sulawesi. In July this year, Mayor Caroll Senduk of the city of Tomohon in North Sulawesi province worked with animal charities Humane Society International and Animal Friends Manado Indonesia to permanently shut down the sale and slaughter of dogs and cats for human consumption at the infamous market, ending years of suffering. The charities rescued the remaining animals found alive at the market’ slaughterhouse.
In a letter to the president, the stars including Dame Judi Dench, Alicia Silverstone, Alfie Boe OBE, Leona Lewis, Daisy Fuentes, Eddie Vedder, Goran Visnjic, Kristin Bauer and others praised “those leaders throughout Indonesia who have taken action to eradicate the dog and cat meat trades in their jurisdictions, saving tens of thousands of dogs and cats every month from the cruel and dangerous trades. There are now 28 cities and regencies that have passed Directives and regulations prohibiting the trades, as well as the Special Capital Region of Jakarta, and the groundbreaking and progressive action taken by the City of Tomohon in July ending the sale and slaughter of dogs and cats, and their meat, at the nation’s most infamous market – Tomohon Extreme Market.”
They ended their letter by urging the PM to ensure “a nationwide ban is introduced so that we can soon celebrate a truly dog and cat meat-free Indonesia.”
The letter, which was also signed by some of Indonesia’s biggest mega-stars including Bubah Alfian, Cinta Laura Kiehl, D.J Bryant, Davina Veronica, Luna Maya and Prilly Latuconsia, acknowledged the fact that most people in Indonesia want to see a ban. The stars wrote: “We stand strong with the overwhelming majority of Indonesian citizens and international visitors who oppose the dog and cat meat trades and believe in protecting animals from cruelty and exploitation; and applaud those leaders who have taken steps in prioritizing their citizens’ health and safety.”
The stars felt inspired to pen the letter after hearing about the dog and cat meat trade ban achieved at Tomohon Market by HSI and AFMI and their rescue of the last 25 dogs and three cats found alive at the slaughterhouses supplying the market. All six dog and cat traders who supplied and worked at the market signed an historic agreement to permanently end involvement in the dog and cat meat trades, which in turn disrupted the vast supply network of animal thieves and traffickers involved in their punishingly long-distance transport.
Animal cruelty at Tomohon market has been documented during exposés spanning many years, showing live dogs and cats cowering and shaking as traders yanked them one by one from their cage to bludgeon them repeatedly over the head and blow-torched them to remove their fur, sometimes while still conscious. Most recently, upsetting footage was filmed by HSI at Tomohon market in March and July this year, including rows of blowtorched dog and cat carcasses on display at market stalls.
Lola Webber, HSI’s director of campaigns to end the dog meat trade, said: “We are so grateful to these outspoken Indonesian and global stars who are using their voices to speak up for the millions of dogs and cats who endure the most horrific abuse for the meat trade. We echo their praise for those Indonesian leaders working with us to end this cruelty at and we join with them in urging President Widodo to introduce a nationwide ban.”
Frank Delano from AFMI said: “The dog and cat meat trades are not only obscenely cruel, but they also jeopardise public health through the spread of the deadly rabies virus during dog slaughter, butchery and consumption. So to see these celebrities stand with the majority of Indonesian citizens in calling for an end to this miserable trade is really encouraging.”
Karin Franken from Jakarta Animal Aid Network, a DMFI coalition founding member, said: “Indonesia is a popular tourist destination for travellers from the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom and Europe, so the celebrities who signed this letter are representing both the international and national community who want to see a dog and cat meat-free Indonesia. These poor animals have endured enough. We hope that President Widodo and provincial leaders take action to rid Indonesia of the scourge of this cruel and dangerous trade that tarnishes our reputation across the globe.”