Each year over four million tourists visit Bali, including around one million Australians.
For many Australians, Bali has become their top go-to destination for holidays. The beautiful island of Bali, with its friendly people, is renowned for its laid-back, inexpensive, and fun-filled lifestyle; a place where Australians and other tourists can chill out and enjoy an affordable, well-earned break from work or just the busyness of everyday life.
However, a new and shocking report indicates that visitors to the popular Indonesian island are being duped into believing they’re eating chicken, when in fact they’re eating dog meat.
The Independent reported that animal protection organization, Animals Australia, recently conducted a four-month undercover investigation into the eating of dog meat in Bali. What they discovered was horrendous. Every day in Bali, dogs, and this includes pets, are being taken off the streets, killed, and sold as meat to tourists.
The “Bali’s Hidden Meat Trade and Its Disturbing Connection to Australian Tourism” investigation found that dogs are brutally and inhumanely killed to provide meat to tourists.
Animals Australia reported its finding in no uncertain terms.
“Dumped in bamboo crates or plastic rice sacks, terrified dogs await the nightly slaughter with legs tied and mouths taped shut. They may languish like this for hours or days without food or water. One by one they will be brutally slaughtered in full view of their companions. And business is booming. Year on year, seven times more dogs are slaughtered in Bali than in China’s notorious Yulin Dog Eating Festival.”
The investigation discovered that street food vendors are most likely to sell dog meat labeled as chicken, but they also discovered around 70 Bali restaurants are selling dog meat as well. The meat is often sold with the word “satay,” allowing tourists to presume the meat they’re purchasing is chicken.
According to Lyn White, Campaign Director for Animals Australia, when tourists walk down a street and see a street store selling a dish labeled as “satay,” they do not realize the letters RW on the store mean that dog meat is being served.
In addition to the fact that Australians are unaware they’re eating dog meat, Lyn White is also concerned that poisoned meat is entering the food chain.
“The dog-meat trade breaches animal cruelty laws and food safety laws. That is a statement of fact.”
An undercover investigator was employed by Animals Australia to determine just how bad the dog trade in Bali is.
The investigator said that they began the investigation by “pinpointing” and “getting to know the key players in Bali’s completely unregulated dog-meat industry.”
“Eventually, they invited me to join them as their gangs stole, hunted, poisoned and killed dogs.”
And, the investigator spoke to a seller who told tourists the meat he was selling was chicken, when in fact it was dog meat.
“As an animal cruelty investigator, I have trained myself to cope with cruelty, but nothing prepared me for the brutal catching of dogs in the village. I focused on my camera work but it was gut-wrenching to hear these dogs screaming and wailing in terror and sorrow.”
As Lyn White pointed out, the torture of these innocent animals is bad enough, but tourists who unwittingly eat dog meat could also be putting their health at great risk. And, she added, tourists have no idea they’re eating an animal which was quite recently a loved family pet.
Doctor Andrew Dawson is Director of New South Wales Poisons Information Center, and he said the poisoned meat could lead to symptoms such as shortness of breath, nausea, and muscle aches. The dog meat could even cause nerve and organ damage.
“If you are eating, for example, a curry and it was including bits of the animal stomach or the heart, then you would expect really high concentrations of cyanide, which could be fatal.”
The Balinese Animal Welfare Association and others in Bali are fighting to end the trade and working to protect Bali’s dogs. At the moment they’re looking after 150 dogs, but sadly, around 70,000 dogs are slaughtered every year for the dog meat trade, so there’s still a long way to go.
The Huffington Post reported that if you’ve eaten meat on a Bali beach, you may have eaten dog.
Tourists to Bali are unknowingly participating in the brutal dog meat trade, and it is hoped the undercover investigation carried out by Animals Australia will shed light on what has become a great concern to tourists and some Balinese.
Animals Australia captured extremely distressing footage showing dogs being caught with wire nooses, then being bound and gagged and kept for days in shocking conditions before finally being violently slaughtered.
The dog meat is then sold as kebabs or satay sticks to unsuspecting tourists on Balinese beaches or at food stalls.
Lyn White explained how mobile dog meat vendors deliberately target “tourists on beaches” and “are prepared to lie about the origin of the meat to get a sale.”
Footage captured from the undercover investigation is shocking, with food vendors lying when asked if the meat they were selling is dog. Another vendor on a Balinese beach assured tourists that the meat is “chicken satay.”
Eighty-three-year-old dog catcher Pak Puris told the investigator that he had killed thousands of dogs. He said some dogs were purchased from locals, while others were captured as they roamed the streets of Bali. The dogs are kept in small pens while bound and gagged for up to a week before being slaughtered.
Lyn White noted that local children were harshly affected by the trade.
“It was incredibly sad to see the bewildered faces of children as their village dogs were brutally caught by dog meat gangs.”
Besides the cruelty involved, the dog meat trade poses a severe risk to public health because many of the animals are killed by cyanide poisoning. The poison remains in their system and enters the human food chain. Other methods of slaughtering the animals included strangulation, clubbing with a stick, shooting, and blow-torching.
Samples taken by Animals Australia also revealed high levels of E. coli and coliform bacteria, which can lead to serious food poisoning.
It is important to note that the sale of dog meat in Indonesia is not illegal, but animal cruelty and the sale of infected meat is.
Lyn White said that eating dog meat is not a Balinese practice. It was fueled by a minority group who came to the island to work in the hospitality industry. Indonesia’s population is made up of 87 percent Muslims who consider dog meat ritually unclean, but many of Bali’s Christian minorities and other ethnic minorities enjoy dog meat as a delicacy.
“For thousands of years Bali’s dogs have lived peacefully in villages with locals. It’s our hope that they will be able to do so again.”
News Australia reported that some Balinese locals believe that dog meat is good for their health, but Animals Australia says that the barbaric way in which the dog meat trade operates for human consumption is illegal.
For four months, an Animals Australia undercover investigator infiltrated the dog meat trade in Bali. He posed as a documentary maker interested in local cuisine. The operation turned out to be far worse than the investigator could have imagined.
“The catching was fiercely aggressive. The dogs screamed and writhed as the noose strangled them. Some tried to bite through the ties to free themselves but with their muzzles lashed, their attempts were futile.”
Balinese villagers who help capture the dogs are paid $10 (100,000Rp) for the animals they catch, said the investigator.
The dogs are taken and crammed into small cages. They are then bludgeoned to a slow and painful death with a metal pole. Others are poisoned by food laced with cyanide, hung from trees, or shot.
9 News reported that these revelations had raised serious concerns for unwitting Australians and other tourists who are being duped into eating the highly poisonous dog meat.
Doctor Andrew Dawson warned that cyanide is not going to be destroyed by cooking.
“So there will be cyanide throughout the dog’s body.”
While calling for an end to the dog meat trade, Lyn White acknowledged the cost to the livelihood of locals and profit from this industry.
“This is not about laying blame. This is about unnecessary cruelty that puts the human health population at risk and is causing shocking animal cruelty: it is also breaching Bali laws. We are certainly willing to partner with the Bali Government to bring about a positive solution here.”
[Featured Image by Andy Wong/AP Images]