Warning, This article contains graphic content that may be upsetting to some readers.
Heartbreaking images and footage has emerged of an Indonesian slaughterhouse showing dogs being prepared for butchering, with their flesh intended for human consumption.
The canines arrive at the Surakarta slaughterhouse packed inside large trucks, and are tied up in sacks before being thrown into filthy cages to await their slaughter.
Prior to being killed, the workers hit the animals over the head with large pieces of wood, string them upside down and slit their throats. In some cases the strike over the head does not completely knock the animal out and workers continue to slaughter them while they are still conscious.
Other dogs awaiting their demise are frightened as they watch the other dogs being slaughtered. It is also believed that instilling fear in the animals before killing them makes their meat tastier.
The images and video was captured by campaign group Dog Meat-Free Indonesia, which urged the government to follow up on its pledge to stamp out the trade.
‘Dogs are captured from the streets and stolen from people’s homes to be taken on long journeys – often lasting for days – tightly packed in pick-up trucks or in hessian sacks, their mouths bound shut so they can hardly breathe. – Change for animals foundation
‘They are then taken to filthy slaughterhouses where they watch others being slaughtered as they wait their turn, trembling in fear.
According to Activist’s latest investigations a report reveals approximately 13,700 dogs of unknown disease and vaccination status continue to be captured and stolen each month from the streets of cities throughout Java – Indonesia’s most populous island, with approximately 90 percent ending up in the dog meat trade.
West Java acts as a ‘supply hub’ for the region, importing dogs into Solo’s densely-populated city centre. Here, the dogs are slaughtered and sold in one of the city’s 82 restaurants openly advertising the meat.
In Surakatra alone, it is thought 1,200 dogs are slaughtered daily for their meat, though official statistics on the trade are hard to come by.
As in many other parts of Asia, dog meat is also consumed for perceived health properties such as curing skin problems, dengue fever and asthma, as a general boost for the immune system, or improving male stamina.
Indonesia has strict laws relating to the sale of dog meat – banning animals from being brought in from outside the state in which they are sold. Animals are also supposed to be fully vaccinated against diseases like rabies and sourced from reliable farms.
“We know that rabies control and elimination efforts are futile without addressing the dog meat trade which is the only trade known to encourage the mass unregulated movement of dogs of unknown disease and vaccination status.” Dr. Katherine Polak, of the FOUR PAWS group
In 2018 the Indonesian government pledged to fully eradicate the trade but markets and restaurants continue to sell dog meat, sometimes even to unsuspecting tourists. Slaughterhouses and stories like these are all to common in south east Asia, but they don’t have to be.