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An undercover investigation revealed tourists being duped into unwittingly eating dog meat while visiting Bali on vacation. The dogs are being captured and killed not far from popular beaches for a secretive trade that is not only terribly cruel but poses a major public health risk.
“This is a profoundly distressing situation. Not only is the suffering of the dogs horrifying, tourists are unwittingly fueling the trade. Most tourists have no idea that the letters RW on the outside of popular street food stalls in Bali indicates that dog meat is being served,” said Animals Australia‘s Director of Investigations, Lyn White.
“In addition, mobile dog meat vendors are deliberately targeting tourists on beaches and are prepared to lie about the origin of the meat to get a sale,” she added.
Bali’s unique heritage dogs and pets are being captured for this growing trade. Dogs are being brutally caught by dog meat gangs with wire nooses on poles, bound and bagged before being transported on motorbikes to crude slaughter areas. Vendors were filmed bludgeoning dogs, hanging them by the throat so that they slowly died of asphyxiation, and forcing poison down dogs’ and puppies’ throats. The butchering of dogs was completed on the floor in filthy conditions.
“Our investigator’s footage of dogs being captured and slaughtered is deeply upsetting. The suffering of these dogs is nothing short of heart-breaking,” Ms White said.
Dog eating was brought to Bali by minority Christian ethnic groups who came to the island to work in the hospitality industry. The belief that it increases male virility, and its low cost, has seen its popularity grow with locals who are unaware of the cruelty or associated health risks.
“Bali’s unique dogs once lived peacefully with local communities. It was incredibly sad to see the bewildered faces of children as their village dogs were brutally caught by dog meat gangs.”
Animals Australia advised the Bali government of the outcomes of the investigation in early April and wrote to all Consuls in Bali alerting them of the risks to tourists.
“The dog meat trade in Bali is breaching local food safety and animal cruelty laws. We have been meeting with government officials and have highlighted the need to urgently act considering the human health risks and dire animal welfare consequences of the trade,” Ms White said.
“Not only is poisoned meat entering the dog meat trade, a sample of raw dog meat tested showed the meat was contaminated with high levels of coliform bacteria and E.Coli, which are commonly associated with faecal contamination and can cause serious food poisoning.”
Animals Australia’s investigations in Bali also encompassed the killing of cattle, pigs and chickens in slaughterhouses and revealed acute levels of suffering and non-existent food safety protocols. Meat from these abattoirs is sold to locals and through the street food vendors to tourists.
“Producing food for 1.2 million Australian tourists annually has increased the animal welfare problems in Bali significantly. We have the opportunity to rectify this unfortunate situation by using our unique friendship with the Balinese to encourage positive change.”
“We have based Animal’s Australia’s Veterinary Director in Bali as part of our offer to partner with the Bali government to create animal welfare improvements on the island,” Ms White said.
“This is not about condemning a culture, it is about addressing unnecessary cruelty and seeking to transform a situation of unimaginable suffering into a positive outcome,” she added.
“Dog eating in Bali was fuelled by a minority group who came to the island to work in the hospitality industry — it is not a Balinese practice. For thousands of years Bali’s dogs have lived peacefully in villages with locals — it is our hope that they will be able to do so again.”