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Animal traffickers in Indonesia steal family pets and club them to death for meat traders

Shocking footage has emerged of a gang of animal traffickers in Indonesia who are stealing pet dogs from unsuspecting local families and brutally beating them before selling their carcasses to meat traders.

The clips, filmed by members of the Dog Meat Free Indonesia (DMFI) coalition who infiltrated the gang, show men using long metal pincers to trap the dogs, clamping down on their bodies and necks before dragging them along the floor and throwing them into cages .

Terrified dogs can be seen trembling as they are transported to the gang’s premises where they are thrown into a pit, before being strung up one by one and brutally clubbed to death as they swing and spin around in mid-air like a pinata.

The poor, defenseless animals can be heard howling and screaming in pain as the heartless criminals viciously smash their snouts and skulls with a wooden bat.

Beaten to a pulp, the dogs are laid out on a block before their coats are burned off their bodies with a handheld blow torch. The tails and hind legs of some of the dogs are seen still twitching even as the flames begin to blast their skin.

Burnt to a crisp, the chargrilled carcasses are tied up and shipped to wet markets where their meat is flogged.

The clip has caused outcry among several members of the British government, with Lord Zac Goldsmith – the Minister of State for the Pacific and the Environment – contacting Indonesia’s ambassador to the UK to crack down on the disgusting practice.

‘This footage of dogs being grotesquely abused as part of the dogmeat trade in some parts of Sulawesi, Indonesia is deeply shocking,’ Goldsmith said.

‘I have written to the Ambassador urging the government of Indonesia to take stronger steps to stop this appalling cruelty.’

The Indonesian Embassy in the UK has been contacted for comment.

The clips, filmed by members of the Dog Meat Free Indonesia coalition who infiltrated the gang, show men using long metal pincers to trap the dogs and drag them into cages

The pincers are clamped down on the dogs' bodies and necks to prevent them from escaping.  They are then forced into cages and transported to the gang's premises where they are thrown into a mass pit

The pincers are clamped down on the dogs’ bodies and necks to prevent them from escaping. They are then forced into cages and transported to the gang’s premises where they are thrown into a mass pit

The trembling animals are hurled into large cages before being transferred into a pit where they are thrown on top of each other like crabs in a bucket

The trembling animals are hurled into large cages before being transferred into a pit where they are thrown on top of each other like crabs in a bucket

Then, one by one, the dogs are strung up with a cord around their neck and bludgeoned like a pinata by the heartless criminals

Their carcasses are laid out on a block and their fur is burned off with a handheld blow torch.  Some of the dogs are clearly still alive as the flame is turned against their skin

Their carcasses are laid out on a block and their fur is burned off with a handheld blow torch. Some of the dogs are clearly still alive as the flame is turned against their skin

The chargrilled corpses are shipped off to wet markets where they are flogged for pennies

The chargrilled corpses are shipped off to wet markets where they are flogged for pennies

Indonesia is a predominantly Muslim country, and the majority of Indonesians do not consume dog meat as it is considered ‘haram’, or ‘unclean’.

But dog meat is still consumed frequently in certain parts of the nation as it is both traditional and cheap.

An estimated one million dogs are killed annually in Indonesia, and the wet markets in North Sulawesi are among the biggest providers of their meat.

Dog traffickers and traders in Sulawesi are thought to capture around 4,500 dogs each month alone, according to the DMFI investigation team who infiltrated one of the gangs.

Not only do they target stray animals, they are also known to steal pet dogs from families in small villages in the south of the island.

The dogs are forced into cages and brought to makeshift processing plants where the animals are beaten to death en-masse and warehoused before being transported north to be sold.

One of the main reasons dog meat is still consumed is the price.

A dish containing dog meat can be bought at market for around 25,000 – 35,000 Indonesian rupiah (IDR), which equates to roughly £1.50.

This low price point keeps the trade afloat, because many Indonesians whose faith does not prevent them from consuming the meat are able to eat well for less.

Five regions of Indonesia – Karanganyar (2019), Sukohrajo (2021), Salatiga City (2021), Malang (2022) and Semarang, the provincial capital of Central Java (2022) – have already implemented blanket bans on the dog meat trade, but it is still legal in much of the country.

Lola Webber, the End Dog Meat campaign director at Humane Society International, said of the video: ‘This is some of the worst animal cruelty we have seen – gangs and traders stealing and bludgeoning thousands of terrified, screaming dogs every month from villages, many beloved family companions.

‘They are torn away and abused by these criminals in broad daylight, scared and helpless.

‘As shocking as the investigation is, it’s just a snapshot of the horrifying scale of this trade.’

Dog traffickers and traders in Sulawesi are thought to capture around 4,500 dogs each month alone, according to the DMFI investigation team who infiltrated one of the gangs

Dog traffickers and traders in Sulawesi are thought to capture around 4,500 dogs each month alone, according to the DMFI investigation team who infiltrated one of the gangs

Not only do the traffickers target stray animals, they are also known to steal pet dogs from families in small villages in the south of the island

Not only do the traffickers target stray animals, they are also known to steal pet dogs from families in small villages in the south of the island

Lola Webber, the End Dog Meat campaign director at Humane Society International, said of the video: 'This is some of the worst animal cruelty we have seen - gangs and traders stealing and bludgeoning thousands of terrified, screaming dogs every month from villages, many beloved family companions'

Lola Webber, the End Dog Meat campaign director at Humane Society International, said of the video: ‘This is some of the worst animal cruelty we have seen – gangs and traders stealing and bludgeoning thousands of terrified, screaming dogs every month from villages, many beloved family companions’

Indonesia is a predominantly Muslim country, and the majority of Indonesians do not consume dog meat as it is considered 'haram', or 'unclean'.  But dog meat is still consumed frequently in certain parts of the nation as it is both traditional and cheap

Indonesia is a predominantly Muslim country, and the majority of Indonesians do not consume dog meat as it is considered ‘haram’, or ‘unclean’. But dog meat is still consumed frequently in certain parts of the nation as it is both traditional and cheap

A dish containing dog meat can be bought at market for around 25,000 – 35,000 Indonesian rupiah (IDR), which equates to roughly £1.50.  This low price point keeps the trade afloat, because many Indonesians whose faith does not prevent them from consuming the meat are able to eat well for less

A dish containing dog meat can be bought at market for around 25,000 – 35,000 Indonesian rupiah (IDR), which equates to roughly £1.50. This low price point keeps the trade afloat, because many Indonesians whose faith does not prevent them from consuming the meat are able to eat well for less

A DMFI member involved in the investigation, who remains anonymous for their own protection, said: ‘The scale of the dog meat trade was really surprising. Thieves are stealing dogs from all over the island before selling them to the traders who warehouse them until they have enough to take to market.

‘Mentally, this was a harrowing mission because every day I could see how utterly terrified and traumatized these poor dogs were.

‘Like me, the vast majority of Indonesians will be sickened by what I saw. This trade brings shame on Indonesia.’

A spokesperson for DMFI said the coalition is now seeking urgent meetings with provincial and city authorities in several regions of Indonesia yet to ban the dog meat trade to call for immediate action.

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