Earlier this month, authorities from the Special Area of the City of (DKI) Jakarta—the most populous metropolitan area in Indonesia, which includes the capital city—announced they have banned the dog and cat meat trades, which will save the lives of an estimated 340 dogs and countless cats per day. The move comes in response to an intensive campaign by Dog Meat Free Indonesia, exposing severe animal cruelty and risks to human health from zoonotic diseases inherent in the trade. Humane Society International is proud to be a founding member of the Dog Meat Free Indonesia, a coalition of organizations that includes HSI, Jakarta Animal Aid Network, Four Paws, Animals Asia and Animal Friends Jogja. Jakarta is the 21st jurisdiction in Indonesia to ban the trade.
At a meeting with Dog Meat Free Indonesia on March 1, the Provincial Government of DKI Jakarta stated that it is drafting a regional law and associated governor's directive that will strengthen the directive and result in active enforcement to shut down all dog and cat-meat associated operations.
The news is being celebrated both locally and internationally. An opinion poll revealed that 93% of Indonesians support a national dog meat ban and just 4.5% have ever consumed dog meat. And celebrities active in raising awareness about the plight of dogs and cats in the meat trade commended the local authorities for passing the ban via video messages—actress Kim Basinger, comedian Ricky Gervais and British actor Peter Egan all thanked Jakarta authorities for taking action, alongside national celebrities such as Luna Maya and Davina Veronica.
When the prohibition was officially announced, Ibu Ir. Suharini Eliawati M.Si, Head of the Food Security and Agriculture Department for Jakarta, added that the “plan is also to educate people to not consume dog meat, and to be responsible animal owners,” reflecting how dogs and cats are increasingly being viewed in the region, as pet ownership rises rapidly.
In other parts of Indonesia, too, authorities have been cracking down on the trade. In 2021, in collaboration with the Dog Meat Free Indonesia, the authorities of Sukoharjo intercepted a truck carrying 53 terrified dogs as it arrived at an illegal slaughterhouse. In a win for enforcement of the law, the dog trafficker was sentenced to a record 17-month jail term, marking the country’s second-ever prosecution of dog meat traders under animal health and safety laws and representing a milestone in the global campaign to protect dogs from being slaughtered for food.
The cruelty inherent in the dog and cat meat trade is now well known all over the world. Across Indonesia, more than 1 million dogs and hundreds of thousands of cats are killed every year for meat, most of them stolen pets or strays, snatched from the streets and illegally trafficked on grueling journeys to slaughterhouses that are sometimes hours and hours away. Many die during this long ordeal from heatstroke, dehydration or injuries inflicted during capture and transport. Those who survive are taken to makeshift slaughterhouses where they are bludgeoned and killed.
In Asia, the trade in and slaughter, sale and consumption of dogs has also ended in Taiwan, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Thailand, Singapore, Siem Reap in Cambodia and two major cities in mainland China. In South Korea, a government-initiated task force is currently considering a ban. We hope that a national ban is on the horizon for Indonesia and other countries where the dog meat trade still exists, and we will keep fighting to ensure that dogs and cats are afforded the compassion that they deserve.
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