The government has agreed to issue a regulation banning the trade in dog meat amid concerns over the spread of rabies and animal abuse following a series of campaigns against the consumption of dog meat in the country.
The pledge was made during a two-day meeting on the “National Coordination of Animal Welfare” in Jakarta earlier this month, which was attended by government representatives from the Agriculture Ministry and NGOs.
“All national participants agreed to issue a ban on the trade of dog meat in Indonesia and to prohibit the issuance of health certifications for dog meat for human consumption,” the Dog Meat-Free Indonesia coalition said in a statement to The Jakarta Post on Tuesday.
The coalition comprises local and international pro-animal welfare groups such as the Jakarta Animan Aid Network (JAAN), Animal Friends Jogja (AFJ), Change for Animal Foundation (CFAF), London-based Humane Society International (HSI) and Four Paws (FP). They have long campaigned against dog meat consumption and the cruelty behind the trade.
The results of the meeting, initiated by the ministry’s directorate of veterinary public health, will be used as a recommendation to formulate a ministerial regulation regarding the ban on the dog and cat meat trade as well as other exotic animals in Indonesia. No further details were available as to when the regulation will be issued.
The statement cited the ministry’s director of veterinary public health, Syamsul Ma’arif, who was reported as saying that the trade posed a risk to Indonesia’s international reputation.
“Foreign countries find a low standard of animal welfare and cruelty unacceptable and will stop visiting Indonesia, which is bad for tourism," he said as quoted by the statement, adding that the trade in dog meat and animals that were not registered as farm animals were illegal.
The coalition commended the move, saying that the regulation would be a victory for animal welfare that it would make Indonesia dog-meat free.
HSI president Kitty Block said the organization applauded the Indonesian government’s pledge to end the brutal dog meat trade.
“We hope that this bold step will send a strong message to other countries across Asia, such as China, South Korea, India and Vietnam where 30 million dogs and 10 million cats suffer unimaginable cruelty for the meat trade, many of them stolen pets,” Block added.
Several regions in the country such as Central Java, Yogyakarta, Bali, North Sumatra and North Sulawesi are known to have dishes made of dog meat that are sold at street food stalls and restaurants. In Surakarta, Central Java, an estimated 1,200 dogs are slaughtered and eaten daily by dog-meat connoisseurs in the city.