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. Spearheading the campaign are Hollywood A-listers like Kate Beckinsale, Keely and Pierce Brosnan, Simon Cowell, Ellen DeGeneres, Dame Judi Dench, Cameron Diaz, David Duchovny, Ricky Gervais, Tyrese Gibson, Chelsea Handler, Ricky Martin, Shay Mitchell, Joaquin Phoenix, Naomi Watts, and Rainn Wilson.
— Jakarta Animal Aid (@jaan_indonesia) November 3, 2017
After an investigation recently exposed the horrific treatment of dogs and cats face due to the demand for their meat, the stars have come forward in support of putting a stop to the meat trade in the country. The report showed that the dogs and cats were bludgeoned and blow-torched to death in Indonesia’s meat markets.
The campaign, called Dog Meat Free Indonesia (DMFI) coalition comprises of an Indonesian non-profit called Animal Friends Jogja, Change for Animals Foundation, Humane Society International, Jakarta Animal Aid Network and FOUR PAWS, an international animal charity.
Apart from the animal cruelty factor, the dog meat trade is also a health hazard in the country, exposing its citizens to diseases like rabies. The meat trade also poses a threat to the pets – the campaign says that there are gangs in the country to take pet animals forcibly from their owners to sell them to be killed and sold.
Along with Hollywood celebrities, Indonesian stars have also joined the DMFI. Singers Anggun Cipta Sasmi, Gamaliel Tapiheru, Cakra Khan, Nina Tamam, Melanie Subono, and actors Sophia Latjuba, Sarah Sechan and Dimas Beck all support the cause. 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.
The letter to the Indonesian president points out the cruelty that these animals go through. It 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.”
A footage was released along with the report during the investigation by DMFI 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, a process done to remove the hair before butchering.
Humane Society International President Kitty Block speaking about the brutality said, “The brutality of Indonesia’s dog and cat meat trade is utterly deplorable and it needs to stop, now. We are so grateful to these global and Indonesian superstars who have come together to support Dog Meat-Free Indonesia’s efforts to end this cruel and dangerous industry, and we respectfully urge President Widodo to work with us on a solution that protects not only Indonesia’s dogs and cats but also the health of its people.”