BY KATIE - MYGREENPOD, 29 May '18

Simon Cowell, Ricky Gervais, Moby and Pierce Brosnan among celebs calling for an end to ‘horrific’ dog and cat meat trade in Indonesia

Some of the biggest names in acting, music and sports from around the world have come together to sign a letter urging President Joko Widodo of Indonesia to end the brutal slaughter of millions of dogs and cats for the meat trade.

More than 90 celebrities, including Pierce Brosnan, Cameron Diaz, Ellen DeGeneres, Simon Cowell, Kate Beckinsale, Elizabeth Hurley, Ricky Gervais, Moby, Leona Lewis and Courtney Cox are supporting the Dog Meat-Free Indonesia (DMFI) coalition after its investigation exposed horrific treatment of dogs and cats being bludgeoned and blow-torched to death in Indonesia’s gruesome markets.

The DMFI coalition comprises Animal Friends Jogja, Change for Animals Foundation, Humane Society International, Jakarta Animal Aid Network and FOUR PAWS.

Beyond the cruelty and brutality, the trade poses a serious threat to the health and safety of Indonesian citizens. This is due to the spread of rabies and the violence that has sprung up around gangs that forcibly take the dogs from their owners to sell them into the trade.

Click here to sign the DMFI global petition calling on the Indonesian government to ban the trade in and slaughtering of dogs, and consumption of dog meat throughout Indonesia.

‘horrified by the findings’

In writing to President Widodo, the celebrities point to the damage the trade is doing to Indonesia’s international reputation as a popular tourist destination, and urge him to take action to join the growing number of countries across Asia that have banned the trade in and consumption of dog and cat meat.

As well as participation from global celebrities, the campaign has also garnered support from some of Indonesia’s biggest stars, including singers Anggun Cipta Sasmi, Gamaliel Tapiheru, Cakra Khan, Nina Tamam, Melanie Subono, and actors Sophia Latjuba, Sarah Sechan and Dimas Beck.

The letter to President Widodo reads, ‘We were horrified by the findings of nationwide investigations by the Dog Meat-Free Indonesia coalition, documenting the horrific reality of the trade: more than one million dogs and cats are transported throughout Indonesia to supply markets, slaughterhouses and restaurants. These animals, many of them stolen pets, are subjected to crude and brutal methods of capture, transport and slaughter, and the immense suffering and fear they must endure is heartbreaking and absolutely shocking.

‘The footage from markets in North Sulawesi is deplorable, and clearly documents the routine use of brutal handling and killing, including repeatedly bludgeoning animals over the head, killing animals in front of their terrified cage-mates, and blowtorching dogs whilst they are still alive. We are sure you will agree that the level of brutality towards these dogs and cats is shocking and demands your urgent attention.’

Supported by superstars

The footage that moved celebrities to join the campaign was filmed by the DMFI coalition during nationwide investigations, including earlier this year at two of North Sulawesi’s estimated 200 traditional animal markets.

It documents the slaughter of dogs and cats for human consumption where, in full view of their terrified cage-mates, dogs and cats are seen yanked by the neck with a noose-stick and repeatedly bludgeoned over the head. Some dogs are then filmed being blow-torched whilst clearly still alive, in order to remove the hair before butchering.

‘I didn’t know’


A threat to society

With rabies endemic in 26 of the nation’s 34 provinces, as well as being unimaginably cruel, the dog meat trade poses a very real and grave health risk to all sectors of society.

The trade sees millions of dogs caught and killed every year, but it only takes one infected dog to cause an outbreak, with devastating consequences for both animals and people. The World Health Organization has explicitly highlighted the trade in dogs for human consumption as a contributing factor to the spread of rabies in Indonesia.

‘Most people in Indonesia don’t eat dog and cat meat; in fact, many Indonesians are highly critical of the trade because of the growing concerns for animal welfare, high incidence of dog theft and the fear created by the gangs who steal dogs from the streets and people’s homes.’

KARIN FRANKEN
Director of Jakarta Animal Aid Network

Actor Goran Visnjic, one of the celebrity signatories, reflected on his beloved canine companions when supporting the Dog Meat-Free Indonesia campaign. He said, ‘Dogs are our companions, they are our family – we share our lives with them. These are thinking, feeling beings with a will to live. They deserve better than waiting to be slaughtered and eaten. We are asking President Widodo to do the right thing for these animals and make Indonesia dog meat-free.’