Dog meat traders to be prosecuted for the first time in Indonesian history

By on August 25, 2021 with 24 Comments

Indonesia’s first-ever prosecution of dog meat traders under animal health and food safety laws represents another milestone in the global campaign to protect dogs from being slaughtered for food. A district attorney on the island of Java recently confirmed plans to prosecute dog traders intercepted by police in May while transporting 78 dogs in a truck. The traders were taking the dogs to slaughter; maximum penalties include up to five years imprisonment and fines of up to four billion Indonesian rupiahs ($275,000).

This case involves the first such interception in Indonesia. The Dog Meat Free Indonesia coalition, of which Humane Society International is a founding member, had been pressing authorities for the action, and has been making steady gains in building opposition to the trade overall. The effects of its campaign are bearing results, not just in public policy but in the form of increased pressure on restaurants to stop serving dog meat and in higher public awareness across the country.

The coalition’s harrowing investigations exposing the brutality of the dog and cat meat trades also resulted in a landmark achievement in 2018: the public acknowledgment by a national government representative that dog meat is illegal and a renewed pledge to end the trade. Even so, the traders continue their operations, moving more than one million dogs into the marketplace every year. It’s vital that law enforcement agencies and other authorities enforce the law through actions such as this interception and prosecution to make clear their determination to stop the dog meat trade.

Many of the dogs found bound in the traders’ truck wore collars and were friendly, suggesting that they were likely pets stolen from the streets. The traders also transported the dogs across provincial borders with no records concerning the animals’ health or vaccination status, itself a violation of the law under national rabies and disease control legislation.

While dog meat is not widely consumed across the whole of Indonesia (most Indonesians don’t eat dog meat, and some 93 percent support a ban, according to an opinion poll conducted by Nielsen in January 2021), dog meat hotspots such as Solo in Java still see a thriving trade. In areas like North Sulawesi, North Sumatera and Flores, dog meat remains commonplace. Its consumption is often linked to religious ceremonies, festive events and family celebrations. Dog meat is also consumed in the mistaken belief that it has health-enhancing properties.

Dogs caught up in the trade experience a horrific journey to slaughter, suffering from heatstroke, dehydration and injuries inflicted by their captors. At the slaughterhouses, they are beaten and strung upside down to bleed out while still conscious. Some dogs are instead taken straight to public markets where they are bludgeoned and even blowtorched alive.

Quite apart from its inherent cruelty, the trade poses grave health risks for Indonesia as a whole. It threatens every province in the country, including the 8 of 34 currently designated as rabies-free. The uncontrolled transfer of large numbers of dogs of unknown disease and vaccination status into highly populated areas defies globally recognized rabies control recommendations and national disease prevention laws and hinders attempts to secure canine herd immunity through vaccinations. This is not an abstract risk. Scientific reports have documented rabies-positive dogs being sold and slaughtered in markets in Indonesia, as well as in restaurants and slaughterhouses in China and Viet Nam.

Our approach to fighting the dog meat trade has been to forge close collaborations with local partners, many of whom have been working to stop it for years. This strategy has been fruitful in Indonesia. In 2019, the Karanganyar Regency became the first jurisdiction to ban the dog meat trade, with authorities there offering to support traders and vendors in their transition from dog meat to other livelihoods. In Bali, one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations, there are concerted efforts to close the trade down. Earlier this year, Sukoharjo Regency and the city of Salatiga announced bans.

This is encouraging, and so is the stream of positive news from other nations. All across Asia, opposition to the dog and cat meat trades is increasing, with an ever-growing number of countries and territories (Taiwan, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Thailand and two major cities in mainland China) explicitly banning the slaughter, sale and consumption of dogs.

In each instance where we’re seeing a reduction in the trade and people looking to leave it, it’s internal criticism and advocacy by local activists that has brought dog meat under scrutiny. As more people work in their communities and all levels of public policy and law enforcement to confront the horrors associated with dog meat, we’ll come ever closer to the day when it will be nothing more than a terrible memory. Until that day, we’ll stand strong in the fight with our friends and allies across the world.

Animal Rescue and Care, Companion Animals, Humane Society International

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  1. Helene Mart says:

    Procecute animal abuser🤮😢😭😡🆘

  2. Sharon Meyers says:

    This is so infuriating I’m beside myself. I was unable to view the picture for more than a second. Where is the compassion? These animals were made by GOD. He put 2 of each kind in the ark so they would survive and multiply. These dogs are for people to love and care for. These dogs help people adjust to trauma and help people who are handicapped and sightless. I pray they are punished with all the law can apply. I am in tears. They’ve gone over the 🌈 bridge.

  3. Sally Palmer says:

    What wonderful news from yet another long tough, complex battle on behalf of animals. I’d also like to say how much I like your blogs, Kitty. They are so clear, contain amazing facts and present the interesting mix of approaches to solving animal neglect and cruelty issues on individual, public sentiment, industry, and government levels. I feel when I share your blog I am able to provide the kind of information that both educates and moves people, opening their minds and their hearts.

    • Anne says:

      I really hope this is true

    • Gail Boyum says:

      Animals are the most innocent of the earth. They seem to ask for so little and because of their sheer defenslessness are @ the most risk of abuse. Everyday sadists
      seem to be everywhere. So much evil.
      Thank you Sally for this encouraging peice.

      We, who love God’s precious creatures & know they have higher purpose with us, have to remember to never miss an opportunity to educate others!

  4. Jackie Phillips says:

    Great job, HSI!!!!!!!

  5. Edward Stepec says:

    Reading the article on dog trading has seriously caused me to lose faith with those in Indonesia. Whether you trade or consume, I have a total lack of respect. I am turning that anger into a positive action and exploring what I can do to stop the abuse. Keep the fight on, educate traders with other forms of income, show them easier ways to feed their families. Education and options are the keys. How can I help?

  6. Jeremy Barnes says:

    Its about time, sure hope the North Sulawesi Government and Minahassa can take this as an example and stop the selling and brutalizing of animals in the local markets!!

  7. LEIBA HARR says:

    Right now my pores are raised and tears in my eyes. I have stopped looking at any footage of this horrific business which haunts and continues to haunt me. I cannot understand how anyone can hurt helpless animals. We have 2 dogs of our own and having our own has opened up a whole new world of animals to me. I continue to pray hard and donate as much as I can towards all the positive work done by humans who genuinely love and care for all animals.

    Thank you for everything you are doing.

    • Penny says:

      I can’t look at videos or pictures anymore I am haunted still but I sure do spread the message and help donate any time I can we are the voices let’s keep spreading this to everyone and get some education to the people who really believe doing this will give them health benefits honestly it will probably do the opposite GOD BLESS EVERYONE AT HS AND THE PEOPLE WHO DONATE!!!

      • Cindy says:

        I’m haunted by the evidence as well.
        Truly was sick to my stomach when I read about the evil brutality these dogs endure. Those responsible are less than human.
        I am 💔 to discover this heinous trade exists. I pray it is shut down ASAP, in Jesus name 🙏

    • Meghna Ray says:

      Great job. However, I do hope that people realize ALL animals have feelings and ALL suffer if raised and transported for slaughter. Not just dogs and cats. So please sympathize with all animals such as pigs, cows, goats, chicken. ALL animals suffer. All meat is cruel and taking away the lives of animals. Please extend the same compassion and sympathy to all animals in factory farms and those used for testing.

  8. Ally Jones says:


  9. Diane Hamdan says:

    I am continued to be horrified and infuriated by those countries who turn a blind eye to the dig meat traders and the markets where the dogs are brutalized and tortured for their meat. I have two dogs of my own & they are a beloved part of my family. I cannot conceive even for a moment anyone harming either one. This evil practice must end for good.

  10. Meghna Ray says:

    Great job. However, I do hope that people realize ALL animals have feelings and ALL suffer if raised and transported for slaughter. Not just dogs and cats. So please sympathize with all animals such as pigs, cows, goats, chicken. ALL animals suffer. All meat is cruel and taking away the lives of animals. Please extend the same compassion and sympathy to all animals in factory farms and those used for testing.

  11. Haenggi says:

    STOP STOP à ces horreurs ces cruautés!

  12. Sheila G says:

    What a wonderful step forward and example of a government that wants to do the right thing. Now it must follow through with great purpose and vigour.

  13. Mary says:

    I rescued two JINDO mixes from Nami Kim almost 4 yr ago. One of them is still traumatized by what she saw the first 5 months of her life. The other girl is not quite as afraid. They keep me sane from this horror, knowing I saved them. They are beautiful souls who love me as much as I love them. I will sign petitions every day till I die. Pray every night. It’s the most horrific cruelty in this world against these dogs and cats. Humans are the most vicious animal on the planet!!👹👹👹👹

  14. Mary mcmahon says:

    Thank you all so much for what you do for these souls.

  15. Joanne says:

    OMG will these dogs finally see some justice for the abuse and torture they have endured for years now

  16. Simonovics Gyorgyi says:


  17. Cindy Gacha says:

    Thank God! Please accept my appreciation and keep prosecuting (and fining would be a great idea also) to stop the horrific torture of these household pets! Don’t stop till you get to 100% of these inhumane places shut down.
    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

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