Closing Down Indonesia’s “Extreme” Live Animal Markets
The brutal and bloody dog and cat meat markets in Indonesia’s province of North Sulawesi result in the theft and slaughter of thousands of dogs and cats each month! Every day, dogs and cats are being bludgeoned and blowtorched in front of their terrified and blood-splattered cage-mates. This must be condemned and stopped!
Since December 2017, as a founding member of the Dog Meat-Free Indonesia coalition, we have been conducting investigations at Indonesia’s “traditional markets” in the province of North Sulawesi, Including the notorious “Tomohon Extreme Market”.
In March 2019, we returned with our wonderful Ambassador Peter Egan and British Filmmaker, Andrew Telling, to continue to shone a light on these horrors to help bring them to an end.
Every single day, these markets are the scenes of the most unimaginable cruelty…
Every month, tens of thousands of animals are traded and slaughtered, including many thousands of dogs and cats.
Extreme animal abuse should never be promoted as a tourists attraction
We were shocked to discover that local authorities and tour operators promote these markets to tourists as a “must see”. The promotion of such markets trivialises the very serious nature of the animal suffering and cruelty found there. Animal cruelty should never be promoted as a form of entertainment. After our first exposé of “Tomohon Extreme Market” in January 2018, we succeeded in securing the removal of all promotion by TripAdvisor.
Not only is this trade cruel, it also poses a threat to public health and safety, and is largely illegal
An estimated 80% of dogs and cats killed at these markets are sourced from outside the province, which is illegal because it breaches Indonesia’s strict anti-rabies law. Our investigations suggest that up to 90% of dogs in the markets are stolen, many owned dogs and pets.
North Sulawesi Province continues to have some of the highest numbers of human deaths attributed to rabies in Indonesia – with a majority of those cases in Minahasa Regency, where there are a number of “traditional markets” trading in live dogs, cats and other animals. It is no coincidence that the provinces with the greatest demand for dog meat are also those with the highest prevalence of rabies, given that we have proven the link between the dog meat trade and rabies transmission countless times and there is evidence spanning decades showing that rabies elimination and the dog meat treat are incompatible.
Last year, following our ongoing public awareness and international lobbying efforts, we secured an official warning was issued by the Australian government on their page on travel advisories for tourists visiting Indonesia, stating: “Rabies poses a risk to those who visit local markets where live animals and fresh food are sold, as rabies-positive dog meat may be sold for human consumption, in breach of government disease control regulations, and live rabies-positive dogs may be present.”
Furthermore, the markets fuel the illegal capture of and trade in wildlife, decimating wild populations and causing immense animal suffering.
The suffering of the animals at these markets is heart-breaking, and must be stopped!
As a founding member of the Dog Meat-Free Indonesia Coalition, we are urging the authorities to take immediate action to address our grave concerns, and calls for the immediate closure of these horrific and unsanitary markets. This is essential to stop illegal activity, prevent large-scale animal cruelty, protect children from violence, and safeguard public health including the nation’s attempts to eliminate the deadly rabies virus.
“Having visited the dog and cat meat markets in North Sulawesi countless times, the horrors never cease to bring me to despair. The absolute indifference to animal sentience is absolutely shocking, heartbreaking, unimaginable and unforgettable.
I have witnessed countless dogs and cats lose their lives in the most brutal and cruel way, and there was nothing I could do to take their pain away. The pleading eyes, sounds and smells, will haunt me for the rest of my life, and we are committed to exposing these horrors and calling on the global community to unite with the Dog Meat Free Indonesia coalition and ever- growing animal rights movement in Indonesia in ensuring the abhorrent cruelty of the dog and cat meat trades is banished nationwide”
Lola Webber, Co-Founder and Director,
Change For Animals Foundation
The Impact of Exposure to Violence on a Child’s Brain
Children in Indonesia are often subjected to the violent slaughtering of dogs in public markets. Because children begin to develop empathy as early as their first year, and very young children are able to recognize distress in others, witnessing such events can be incredibly traumatic.
Watch this interview with world renowned psychologist, Dr. Mary Lou Randour about the profound physical and psychological impacts on children.
Pledges of action have been made by those in power but we need to make sure these result in real and impactful change for those in such desperate need… and change can’t come soon enough!