By Keisyah Aprilia
In a victory for animal lovers worldwide, officers on Friday banned the commerce in canine and cat meat at an notorious Indonesian market the place butchers brazenly bludgeoned and burned the animals alive with a blow-torch.
The ban within the Tomohon market in North Sulawesi province is among the many first in a rustic the place 1 million canines and cats are slaughtered yearly, though most Indonesians, who’re Muslim, don’t eat canine meat.
Consuming canine and cat meat is a practice of the ancestors of the Minahasa individuals, the most important ethnic group in North Sulawesi, however Tomohon officers stated they hoped to coach residents about animal cruelty and the well being dangers related to consuming such meat, together with rabies.
“We hope that Tomohon will be fully free from the commerce of canines and cats,” stated Edwin Roring, the secretary of Tomohon metropolis.
“As a result of the best way to scale back the curiosity in consuming canines and cats in Tomohon is to begin by stopping their gross sales available in the market.”
Roring stated anybody who violated the ban would face authorized sanctions, and that the native authorities would offer different livelihoods for former merchants of canine and cat meat.
A 2021 opinion ballot revealed that 93% of Indonesians help a nationwide ban on canine meat, and that solely 4.5% had ever eaten such meat. And but greater than 20,000 canines and cats are slaughtered each week.
In North Sulawesi, activists say canines and cats are snatched from the streets and from households, stuffed into crates with their mouths sure shut, transported in appalling situations after which stored caged in filthy markets.
They’re then killed in probably the most brutal methods, typically in entrance of kids who accompany their mother and father to the market. As an illustration, butchers take blow-torches to the canines and cats, whereas they’re alive, to take away hair from their pores and skin.
Humane Society Worldwide (HSI) and Animal Buddies Manado Indonesia (AFMI), organizations which have campaigned for years to finish the canine and cat meat commerce in Indonesia, stated it additionally posed a critical threat to human well being.
Canines and cats carry rabies and different infectious illnesses, they stated.
“We hope that in the future there might be no extra individuals in Tomohon consuming canines and cats,” stated Frank Delano Manus, an AFMI activist.
“There may be resistance, as a result of individuals consider consuming canines and cats is a crucial custom of the Minahasa individuals that’s arduous to do away with,” he stated.
Karanvir Kukreja, Southeast Asia campaigner for 4 Paws, a world animal welfare group, stated the Tomohon ban couldn’t have come quickly sufficient.
“The work of DMFI over the previous 5 years has relentlessly uncovered that Tomohon Excessive Market was one of many worst animal welfare circumstances we’ve seen in the case of the canine and cat meat commerce,” Kukreja stated in an announcement. DMFI, or Canine Meat Free Indonesia, is a coalition of Indonesian and worldwide teams.
4 Paws has collected two million signatures calling for an finish to the commerce in canine and cat meat throughout Southeast Asia.
“What we wish to see now could be a nationwide ban after years of exposing extreme and limitless animal cruelty,” he stated.
Earlier this yr, the Indonesian capital Jakarta banned the sale of canine meat altogether.
Indonesia is certainly one of a number of nations in Asia the place some individuals nonetheless devour canine and cat meat.
It’s estimated that 30 million canines and cats, together with stolen pets, are killed for the meat commerce yearly in Asia, together with an estimated 10 million canines in Southeast Asia alone, 4 Paws stated.
Canine meat a bestseller
Animal merchants in Tomohon had been sad with the ban.
“What can we do? It’s already a rule from the federal government, so we’ve to comply with it,” Melki Pongo, one of many merchants, instructed BenarNews.
He stated he had been supplying canines and cats to markets in North Sulawesi for nearly 30 years with none issues.
However since movies of canines and cats being killed in horrific methods on the Tomohon market went viral on-line, there had been many calls to cease promoting canines and cats, he stated.
Pongo was referring to movies launched in 2018 by campaigners in opposition to animal cruelty, which uncovered Tomohon market’s merciless practices and led to worldwide outrage, together with from international personalities.
He stated that 90% of the canines and cats he bought got here from neighboring provinces in Sulawesi provinces and Borneo (Kalimantan), that are predominantly Muslim, besides North Sulawesi, which is especially Christian. Muslims are forbidden from consuming canine and cat meat.
Pongo stated he purchased an animal for 50,000 to 100,000 rupiah (about U.S. $3.50 to $7), and bought it for about 700,000 rupiah (about $49) in North Sulawesi.
Now, he stated he would focus on promoting pigs.
“I’ll stop promoting canines fully. I pray that God will bless me with extra luck,” he stated.
One other dealer, Junly Hesda Kapo, stated canine meat was a bestseller in Tomohon market.
“Often, suppliers introduced 150 animals to the market, and so they had been bought out in hours,” he stated.
Kapo, who additionally eats canine meat, stated he and his household had no issues from it.
“The meat is scrumptious, like free-range hen, particularly whether it is cooked as rica-rica,” he stated, referring to a spicy dish with chili, shallots, garlic and different spices.
Kapo added that each one merchants would comply with the federal government’s rule.
“Consumption may drop naturally if there are not any extra gross sales of canines and cats,” he stated.