When people hear the words “dog meat trade,” they typically think of the Yulin Dog Meat Festival, which takes place in China, or Asian countries in general that still eat dog regularly. What they wouldn’t expect is to discover that a tourist hotspot would be at the center of a huge dog meat trade, but that’s exactly what Animals Australia recently found when they sent someone referred to as ‘Luke’ to take undercover footage of the trade.
Luke headed to Bali, a tropical island that is part of Indonesia and touted as one of the biggest tourist destinations in the world. Bali is very close to Australia, which is why this particular organization took interest in investigating the trade, but they never expected to come across so much pain and suffering in a place where international visitors flock to every year.
According to the investigation, about 70,000 dogs are brutally killed every year in Bali for their meat, which is seven times more than the amount of dogs killed in Yulin each year. Bali’s unique street dogs are targeted by those tasked with catching dogs, and these innocent creatures have their mouths taped shut and are dumped in crates or sacks, where they will wait for hours or days with no food or water until they are slaughtered.
Animals Australia’s investigator posed as a documentary filmmaker interested in researching local cuisine, and started out by showing an interest in restaurants that sell dog meat. Eventually, he was invited to participate in the catching and killing of dogs. The details of the all methods of slaughter are too gruesome to transmit, but one such method included poisoning unsuspecting dogs with cyanide. When investigator Luke witnessed a puppy struggling after being poisoned, he recalled,
“It took many, agonizing minutes for the puppy to die, and for the first time in my career, I turned off the camera,” Luke said. “I sat stroking him as he died and found myself apologizing for the cruelty of my fellow man.”
Other methods include shooting the dogs point blank and bludgeoning them with a metal pole, all of which Luke and a correspondent with ABC’s 7.30 program witnessed while in Bali. For people living in Western nations where dogs are a member of the family, it can be unfathomable to imagine hurting a dog just to turn them into food. However, as Animals Australia points out, it is the cultural conditioning of people living in Bali that allows them to accept this fate for street dogs, and this cultural conditioning is present in other nations with different animals.
“Bali isn’t the only place where people have been conditioned to think of sweet, gentle, domesticated animals as nothing more than a food source,” the site reads. “Before condemning those who kill and eat dogs, it is important to realise that we too have been raised into a society that has normalized the slaughter of highly intelligent animals — often in horrific ways.”
Animals Australia has taken evidence of the trade to the highest levels of government and to the public in hopes of raising awareness about the cruelty and shutting down the trade altogether. Many Bali residents want the trade shut down, and unsuspecting tourists who unintentionally buy the dog meat on a daily basis are likely to want this to end as well. If you would like to sign the petition to help end the trade, you can find that petition here.
The organization hopes to not only shed light on this horrific trade but to also open people’s eyes to cruelty against animals in general, both to those used for food and those out on the streets and in the wild. Their aim is to facilitate and inspire compassion and kindness for all animals through awareness, and one of their campaigns is to encourage people to go meatless for one day each week. You can find out more about their work by visiting their website here.
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