SOME of the worst ever scenes of dogs being battered, butchered and blowtorched emerged today as animal campaigners exposed the nightmare facing a million terrified pets.
Ricky Gervais led the condemnation of Indonesia’s shocking dog meat trade after a video was released showing how innocent animals are suffering unspeakable horrors.
“I didn’t know the magnitude, literally millions of dogs are slaughtered for food in Indonesia every year,” said the comedian and leading animal welfare campaigner.
“It has to be condemned, and we have to stop it. Now that you know, please help us help them, thank you.”
Mr Gervais was speaking after the Dog Meat-Free Indonesia coalition produced its shock report that not only exposes the immense cruelty to animals but also the threats of spreading deadly rabies into the human population.
The coalition’s video unveils the suffering of the small dogs – including stolen family pets – as they are snatched off the streets and then have their legs and mouths bound with tape before being bundled roughly into trucks.
It is just the start of their horror story.
Clearly terrified, the dogs are driven to markets, slaughterhouses and restaurants where they are brutally clubbed, some still wrapped in plastic sacks to stop their struggling.
The sound of dogs barking only adds to the torture of those pets awaiting the same ordeal.
Heavy staves are used to batter the life out of the dogs before they are unceremoniously hung up and cut open to bleed out. Some are skinned, others blow-torched.
Indonesia’s dark secret uncovered by coalition investigators breaches the country’s laws and regulations to safeguard public health and safety as well as provisions to protect animals from cruelty.
It also breaches rabies control recommendations from the World Health Organisation.
There are fears dogs infected with the deadly disease are being moved into highly populated areas, such as the capital Jakarta, which has worked to secure its rabies-free status.
Both the unsanitary conditions of slaughterhouses and the unknown health status of dogs slaughtered only increase the risk of traders, slaughterers, vendors and consumers being exposed to rabies and other infectious diseases.
Efforts to end the dog meat scourge has been given a powerful impetus by the coming together of campaigning organisations Animal Friends Jogja, Change for Animals Foundation, Humane Society International and Jakarta Animal Aid Network.
As the coalition launched Dog Meat-Free Indonesia today, the calls for action were supported by some Indonesia’s biggest superstars – actresses Chelsea Islan and Sophia Latjuba and singer Gamaliel Tapiheru – as well as UK ’s celebrities Joanna Lumley, Peter Egan and Ricky Gervais.
After Bali’s governor ordered a crackdown on the island’s dog meat trade earlier this year, the Dog Meat-Free Indonesia coalition is calling for similar action to be spread out across the entire nation.
Highlighting how the investigation had exposed both cruelty and health threats, Kelly O’Meara, from Humane Society International, said: “Indonesia’s dog meat trade is as brutal as it is unsafe, threatening to undo all of Indonesia’s hard work towards achieving rabies-free status by 2020. The Dog Meat-Free Indonesia coalition’s investigations have exposed the horrifying suffering that dogs caught up in the dog meat trade endure.”
Her remarks were echoed by Karin Franken, of the Jakarta Animal Aid Network, who addd: “Although dog meat is only consumed by a minority of Indonesians – estimated at less than seven per cent – and only a tiny fraction of society are reliant on it as a primary source of income, the dog meat trade threatens the health and safety of the entire nation.
“If Indonesia is to achieve its goal to eliminate rabies by 2020, urgent action is required by the government and all sectors of society.”
Dog Meat Free Indonesia says it is campaigning to secure an Indonesian-wide ban by harnessing opposition to the scourge by raising public awareness and political lobbying.
Lola Webb, from the Change For Animals Foundation, said: “There is an ever-growing opposition to the dog meat trade in Indonesia and globally, and we are committed to working with the government to identify solutions to ensure the protection of animal welfare and public health and safety, which are gravely compromised by the trade.”