Indonesian court cracks down on dog meat trade for first time ever as trader is sentenced to 10 months in prison and $10,000 fine
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.”