Ellen DeGeneres, Cameron Diaz and other celebrities call for an end to Indonesian dog meat trade

By on May 21, 2018 with 27 Comments

Indonesia’s dog meat trade is rife with brutality. Most of its animal victims are stolen pets and street dogs, and they usually endure death by bludgeoning and blowtorching. This week, more than 90 celebrities, including Ellen DeGeneres, Cameron Diaz, Pierce Brosnan, Owen Wilson, Ricky Gervais, Simon Cowell and Dame Judi Dench, are putting their collective star power behind a call to end this grisly enterprise.

The celebrities, working with Humane Society International as part of the Dog Meat Free Indonesia coalition, have signed a letter to President Joko Widodo of Indonesia urging him to end the slaughter of millions of dogs and cats for their meat. The coalition, launched in November last year, is a joint effort by Jakarta Animal Aid Network, Animals Friend Jogja, Change for Animals Foundation, Four Paws and HSI. The coalition has been raising public awareness and lobbying local and central governments. We have also been working to focus the whole world’s eye on the extent of this trade in Indonesia, much as we have done in China and South Korea.

In January, the coalition released a video that went behind the scenes at a live animal market in North Sulawesi, Indonesia, one of 200 in the area. We documented footage of dogs and cats being subjected to the worst possible ordeal. The animals, crammed together in crates, huddled in fear as their cage-mates were dragged out and killed.

“The footage from markets in North Sulawesi is deplorable, and clearly documents the routine use of brutal handling and killing,” the celebrities state in their letter to President Widodo. “We are sure you will agree that the level of brutality towards these dogs and cats is shocking and demands your urgent attention.”

[Related: Indonesia’s dog meat markets exposed in stomach-churning way]

The letter also reminds the president of the serious threat that the dog meat trade poses to the health and safety of Indonesian citizens. Human deaths from rabies have been directly linked to the slaughtering, butchery, handling and even consumption of meat from infected dogs.

Indonesia’s dog meat trade caters to a tiny percentage of the country’s population: it is estimated that less than seven percent of Indonesians consume dogs, and just a fraction of Indonesians rely on this trade as a primary source of income.

On the other hand, continuing this trade could cause enormous damage to Indonesia’s global reputation, as the letter reminds President Widodo. “As national and international concern for animals grows, so does the need for decisive action to be taken,” the letter states.

Celebrities who signed the letter and lent their name to the cause include Ricky Martin, Tyrese Gibson, Chelsea Handler, Kate Beckinsale, Simon Cowell, Rainn Wilson, Naomi Watts, Elizabeth Hurley, Josh Brolin, David Duchovny, Courteney Cox, Gus Kenworthy, Anna Paquin, Helen Hunt, Goran Visnjic, Julianna Margulies, Téa Leoni, Joaquin Phoenix, and many more.

You can read the full letter here, and you can do your part by raising your voice for the dogs and cats caught up in Indonesia’s dog meat trade by signing our petition to urge President Widodo to end the dog and cat meat trade there.

Companion Animals, Humane Society International

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  1. Yasmin Amer says:

    This is cruelty and needs to end!

  2. Michele says:

    This is all well and good and it’s very nice that well-known people are putting their names to this initiative. That said this will do nothing. President Widodo seems to care very little for the animals in his country. There is a group who have been trying to shut down or at the very least improved conditions at a zoo where the animals are eating their own feces because they are not fed nor they have properly despite countless please to president Widodo there pleas have fallen on deaf ears.

    It’s all about money. As in other countries the government makes a substantial amount of money off this depravity.

    My solution his to hit them in the pocketbook. It’s a big tourist destination. Don’t go there. Do not spend your money there. Withdrawal financial aid from this country.

    It won’t happen. People are too selfish and if they have a trip planned to Indonesia they’re not going to cancel for humane. Nor will our government withdraw whatever Aid they may divvy out to this hellhole of a country.

    Let me point out that despite the outcry, massive outcry over the yulin dog meat Festival it has not gotten better it has become worse. The slaughter of dogs goes on every single day of the year not just during the dog meat Festival. China is now instituting policies that they will immediately take your dog as you are walking him down the street if you do not have registration papers for that dog. You can go to the video shown Yesterday by Slaughterhouse survivors on Instagram. It is heart-rending. They are also now instituting a policy that if your dog is over a certain height he gets confiscated and beaten to death.

    I have little hope unless all these countries are hit in the pocketbook. But what happens? People and groups such as the IOC countries like China and South Korea with the prestigious Olympic Games. Yes Olympics are going to be in China next and this past winter they were in the disgusting South Korea. Things will never change never unless we stop rewarding these countries and hurt them financially.

    Sorry to go on such a lengthy dissertation but this is the way I feel and I sincerely believe this is the reality.

    • Michele says:

      ps.. sorry for the hard to read sentences. I was doing this while I’m at work. Perhaps you should have an edit button so people can go back and look at what they wrote so that it makes sense. That said, I’m sure everyone gets the gist.

    • Elyse DeWyngaert says:

      Totally agree with you and what you have written. Boycott the countries, their products.

    • Gene Yakub says:

      You are absolutely right, Michele! And why concentrate only on Indonesia when Vietnam, South Korea (so much in the news at the moment), Thailand, etc. do the same?

    • Moira Frew says:

      Totally agree, Indonesia is on a long list of countries I will not visit, whether it’s the DCMT or excessive abuse of animals for so called public entertainment.

    • Leila Lappin says:

      I agree. These countries should be shamed and forbidden from participating in any international event like the Olympics. Yet, this past Olympics in South Korea, went on despite thousands petitions and letter writing campaigns to Olympic organizers. The Olympics committee didn’t care about the atrocities documented towards dogs and cats, they are not concerned with that. They are concerned only with what goes into their own pockets all the money they get from adversiting and sposorship.

    • Joel P Joseph says:

      The world needs people like you to teach them respect towards Animal Rights.

  3. Sue Sisk says:


  4. Jenn says:

    Please end the dog meat trade. There is clear evidence that it is not only unbelievable cruel, but also, there is little demand for dog meat, and it is unsanitary and has health risks if eaten. It’s really a lose, lose industry.
    Stop this.

  5. Brian O'Neill says:

    I suggest a total boycott of all goods made in South Korea because of its horrid dog meat trade. If the major animal welfare organizations put their heads together and call upon their members to participate in this boycott it would be helpful in shutting down this appalling, demonic trade. Surely, hitting South Korea in the pocketbook with such a blanket boycott could be quite substantial. What is being done to these dogs and cats must be ended. Starve them of their huge sums of money derived from American consumers. Let’s do something big and bold to get the message across on behalf of the dogs and cats who are so grievously mistreated. What do you all think?

    • Kerry says:

      I couldn’t agree with you more Brian! I personally refuse to support their economy in any way whether it is purchasing their goods or going there for a visit! The sad thing is despite my encouragement to my friends to also adopt this boycott they still continue to visit these horrendous and selfish places! I’m not sure how to encourage a mass boycott on supporting these countries when the politicians themselves don’t make a stand! I will never visit one of these countries or contribute a red cent to supporting them as long as they undertake this brutality!

  6. Aleta wilson says:

    More horrific animal cruelty

  7. Aleta wildon says:

    Disgusting animal cruelty

  8. Katrin W. says:

    This brutal trade goes on not only on the extreme market but as well in the social media like local facebook groups such as this: https://www.facebook.com/groups/106697516342699/permalink/665034780508967/?sale_post_id=665034780508967
    It is actually a car buy and sell site. .. The trader and some buyers are so bold to refer to ethnicity to wink off any criticism. But the thing is that many of the cats and dogs offered had been hijacked pets. And some wildlife offered is critically endangered or even protected. Thus it is not about ethnicity or cultural imperialism but about criminal acts.

  9. Miclout T says:

    The dog meat trade in China and elsewhere is the stuff of nightmares. Please continue to do all you can to change attitudes and shame the countries allowing this inhuman barbarity.

  10. Nancy O'Neal says:

    I ask that we all do what we can to stop this scourge on animals everywhere.

  11. Phyllis Bert says:

    It’s nice that these celebrities have signed a petition, but these high-profile people need to do much more. They should be imploring their congressmen to cosponsor H.Res.401 – Global Dog and Cat Meat Ban and H.R.1406 – Dog and Cat Meat a prohibition Act of 2017 (Federal Bill) AND Ban together and put out constant PSA’s! They need to spread further awareness now. These darn “festivals” are upon us again. This atrocity must end and we need the. To do MUCH more!

  12. Marilyn Grgek says:

    Thank you I can sleep better now, it hits me hard to hear of these terrible things done to lovely, or already suffering animals.

  13. Mariana says:

    its a great step against the trade to stop torture of these beautiful creatures.thank you celebrities.

  14. susancopping says:

    I think other countries need to make a stand against all this vile torture and killing of dogs cats and other animals and cease to promote their goods this would hit them in their pockets but sadly I don’t see this happening trumps family are hunters so are the royal family as much as I’d like to see a end to this vileness then even if they did they’d say it’s our culture you kill animals in your country that’s their excuse for torture breaks my heart very disturbing

  15. Catherine says:

    Disgusting! Barbaric end it now

  16. C.elliott says:

    People need to wake up and see the ugliness and torture being done to animals in these Asian countries. Don’t be fooled by brochures full of beautiful beaches visit a dog meat market and see the despicable cruelty inflcted on the animals you’d never set foot in these countries again.

  17. Margaret thompson says:

    Stop this horrible torture of innocent animals….please dont allow the games to be in china…..don’t let this cruelty prosper…….also indonesia and korea are guilty of these babaric acts

  18. Ana Lilia Garcés says:

    Stop meat trade, it´s hard to hear that this horrible thing is hapenning in the XXI century. It needs to end. 🙁

  19. Leila Lappin says:

    These countries should be shamed and forbidden to participate in any international event like the Olympics. Yet, this past Olympics in the South Korea, went on despite thousands petitions and letter writing campaigns to Olympic organizers. The Olympics committee didn’t care about the atrocities documented towards dogs and cats, they are not concerned with that. They are concerned only with what goes into their own pockets, all the money they get from advertising and sponsorship. I also blame the people who travel there for vacation. I even saw the picture of a tourist, a blond woman, eating dog meat kebob for the sake of experiencing dog meat!!! How dispicable and demented can a person be to consider eating the flesh of an animal an experience worth having!

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