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In a significant victory for animal welfare, Jakarta, Indonesia’s bustling capital city, has officially banned the dog and cat meat trades. This decision will save an estimated 340 dogs and countless cats each day. The ban comes after an intensive campaign by Dog Meat Free Indonesia, a coalition that includes Humane Society International (HSI), Jakarta Animal Aid Network, Four Paws, Animals Asia, and Animal Friends Jogja. The coalition exposed the extreme cruelty and zoonotic disease risks inherent in these trades. Jakarta is now the 21st jurisdiction in Indonesia to prohibit such practices.
On March 1, during a meeting with Dog Meat Free Indonesia, the Provincial Government of DKI Jakarta announced that they are drafting a regional law and associated governor’s directive to strengthen the ban and actively enforce the shutdown of all dog and cat meat-related operations. This news has garnered both local and international praise, with an opinion poll revealing that 93% of Indonesians support a national ban on dog meat, and only 4.5% have ever consumed it.
Celebrities, including actress Kim Basinger, comedian Ricky Gervais, British actor Peter Egan, Luna Maya, and Davina Veronica, have applauded Jakarta authorities for their action via video messages. The ban on dog and cat meat trades in Jakarta signifies a major win for the Dog Meat Free Indonesia coalition.
Ibu Ir. Suharini Eliawati M.Si, Head of the Food Security and Agriculture Department for Jakarta, said the plan involves educating people to avoid consuming dog meat and promoting responsible pet ownership. This reflects the shifting perspective on dogs and cats in the region as pet ownership rapidly increases.
Other parts of Indonesia have also been cracking down on the trade. In 2021, in collaboration with Dog Meat Free Indonesia, authorities in Sukoharjo intercepted a truck carrying 53 terrified dogs bound for an illegal slaughterhouse. The dog trafficker was sentenced to a record 17-month jail term, marking Indonesia’s second-ever prosecution of dog meat traders under animal health and safety laws.
More than 1 million dogs and hundreds of thousands of cats are killed for meat annually in Indonesia. Many of these animals are stolen pets or strays, taken from the streets and illegally trafficked on grueling journeys to slaughterhouses. Many die from heatstroke, dehydration, or injuries sustained during capture and transport. Those who survive endure horrific conditions at makeshift slaughterhouses.
In Asia, dog and cat meat trades have already been banned in Taiwan, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Thailand, Singapore, Siem Reap in Cambodia, and two major cities in mainland China. South Korea is also considering a ban through a government-initiated task force. Advocates hope for a national ban in Indonesia and other countries where these cruel practices persist.
So, how can you contribute to this cause? Spread the word about the ban and the importance of animal welfare on social media, Support organizations like Dog Meat Free Indonesia, and promote responsible pet ownership in your community. Together, we can work towards a more compassionate world for our furry friends, celebrating the victories and continuing the fight for their well-being.
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