Mars’ Story

Mars’ Story

Added on Monday, 11 March 2019
In March 2019, we returned to North Sulawesi’s cruel dog and cat meat markets with our wonderful Ambassador Peter Egan. The visits were heartbreaking, as always, and never get any easier. And not being able to save all the dogs and cats who are in the most horrific of places and who have already endured so much cruelty as they await a brutal slaughter, is a haunting experience that stays with you for the rest of your life. But we saved those we could, and on one of the days, we were able to save 4 dogs, including a beautiful puppy we named “Mars”.

As part of our ongoing campaign, the Dog Meat Free Indonesia coalition was in North Sulawesi with our wonderful Ambassador Peter Egan and filmmaker Andrew Telling in March to document the brutal dog and cat meat markets. Peter and Andrew are committed to working with us to help us to continue to raise vital awareness of the extreme cruelties and dangers inherent in the trades, and to put pressure on provincial and central governments in Indonesia to take action.

Read more about Peter’s visit here

On one of the days we were visiting the markets, we were able to save 4 dogs – this is their story as told by DMFI coordinator Lola, who accompanied Peter and Andrew on their visit…

“By the time we arrived at Langowan market – one of over 200 dog and cat meat markets in the province of North Sulawesi – most of the dogs had already been slaughtered for the day, but there were about 10 dogs who were still caged and awaiting slaughter. In markets like these, customers come and pick a dog they want slaughtered and butchered as generally consumers like to see the dog alive that they are going to eat."

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"It is the most indescribable experience being surrounded by caged dogs, the floors and cages – and their faces – splattered with blood from animals who have already been bludgeoned to death. It is overwhelmingly sad to witness so much suffering, knowing that they have already endured so much – from being stolen from the streets and people’s homes in surrounding provinces and surviving a gruelling journey – sometimes having lasted for days – only to arrive at markets like these where they tremble in fear as they watch their cagemates being slaughtered.

 It hurts profoundly not to be able to save them all and to make their suffering end.

On that day, Peter and I – with help from our friends from the local (and only) animal protection group in the province, “Animal Friends Manado Indonesia” (AFMI) – secured the rescue of four dogs. I believe these four were definitely stolen pets, and two of them – including the one we named “Mars” – were wearing collars…"

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"One of the dogs had had his front paw cut off by traders so that he couldn’t escape…

Once we had secured their rescue, we drove them to AFMI’s shelter where all their dogs and cats are offered life-long care as the majority of animals are never adopted; and because of rabies laws and regulations, we cannot legally move dogs to outside the province for rehoming.

Once they arrive, they are provided with food and water and somewhere clean and quiet to rest, before receiving a veterinary check over and care plan as needed. They are then quarantined for rabies and other transmissible diseases for 4 weeks before being introduced to the other residents!

One dog we rescued that day, a beautiful puppy, was immediately adopted by a local family who volunteer with AFMI. We named her “Mars”, and as soon as she has been quarantined she will go and live with her forever family, including another puppy called “Pluto”!"

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"What is always so incredible about the four dogs we rescued was that within less than an hour of arriving at the shelter, they seemed to crave human touch, and licked my hand and lent in for affection. It is absolutely heartbreaking and so shameful… we have so much to learn from dogs!”

Please Take Action for Indonesia’s Dogs and Cats today


In Bobby’s Honour

We found Bobby sitting in a wire cage in a busy dog meat market in North Sulawesi whilst we were conducting investigations in December 2017. He was surrounded by scenes from a horror movie, and the terror in his eyes was haunting. We knew we couldn’t leave him.

It breaks our heart that he left this world too soon, but he left having known love and with a name. And in his name, we will never give up until the dog and cat meat trades end throughout Indonesia.

Hero’s Story

The Dog Meat Free-Indonesia coalition spent many long and heartbreaking months investigating the inner-workings of the dog meat trade throughout Indonesia. As people who do what we do because we care so passionately about animals, doing investigations never gets any easier. It is soul-destroying and heart-breaking, but essential in documenting the reality of the trade so that we are best-positioned to fight it, and to ultimately realise our goal of ending the dog meat trade.

But we always save those we can…

On one particular day, we had the chance to save a dog who we named 'Hero'.

Change is coming in Indonesia and throughout Asia… Never before has the dog meat trade or the consumption of dog meat been questioned the way it is now. People are turning their backs on a trade and a practice that can no longer hide behind a defense of ‘culture’ or ‘tradition’.