Tourists and locals in Bali have been unwittingly eating dog meat, which could have fatal repercussions, reveals a shocking Australian investigation looking into the underground dog meat trade on the island.
A report by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, highlighting both the cruel and dangerous nature of the trade has shown that dog meat is much more common in Bali than most realize.
While some street food vendors may put “RW”, meaning “dog meat” on their signs, most tourists do not realize what it means and other vendors may apparently try to pass off the meat as having come from another animal.
An estimated 70,000 dogs are poisoned, shot, or bludgeoned to death then sold as meat each year in Bali, according to the Bali Animal Welfare Association. With Bali’s considerable canine population, these dogs are apparently hunted in the street while some are even pets, kidnapped from their homes.
An undercover reporter, identified only as “Luke” for ABC, dedicated months to studying and infiltrating the dog meat trade in Bali, posing as a filmmaker working on a documentary about local cuisine.
“I 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,” says Luke.
The journalist met with a man who has been killing dogs for about 30 years, using a metal pole to beat them to death. Even that man, Pak Puris, 83, says he only does the job because he’s too old to do anything else and wouldn’t eat dog meat himself because “it makes him want to vomit.”
Those eating the meat of dogs that have been poisoned, meanwhile, face major health risks—even death.
“Firstly, cyanide is not going to be destroyed by cooking. So there will be cyanide throughout the dog’s body,” Dr. Andrew Dawson told ABC.
“The actual risk depends upon how much poison is in the dog meat,” added Dawson, who is the director of the New South Wales Poisons Information Centre and head of toxicology at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital
Eating the meat “again and again, that can actually give organ damage and damage to the nerves.”
“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.”
Moat troubling is that selling and eating dog meat in Bali is perfectly legal, though using poison or ‘cruel methods’ to kill is against the law.
“The dog-meat trade breaches animal cruelty laws and food safety laws. That is a statement of fact.
“Tourists will walk down a street, they’ll see a street store selling satay but what they are not realizing the letters RW on the store mean it is dog meat being served,” said Animals Australia campaign director Lyn White.
Following ABC’s investigation, Animals Australia has launched a petition calling on Bali’s governor to immediately ban the dog meat trade and pass laws to outlaw extreme cruelty to all animals. In the short time that it’s been online, the petition has already garnered over 43,000 signatures of its 50,000 signature goal, as of Tuesday morning.