Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo has ordered officials in the city of Solo (also known as Surakarta), one of several cities in Indonesia renowned for its dog meat trade, to put an end to the cruel practice.
Though it is not eaten widely throughout Indonesia, dog meat is popular in certain regions and demand for it fuels an industry that animal rights activists have denounced as not just cruel but also a threat to public health. Last year, activists scored a victory in getting officials from multiple government agencies to agree to work towards banning the trade.
There have been some success at the regional level, particularly in Central Java, including the regent of Karanganyar committing to shut down all dog meat stalls in his jurisdiction. However, the same can’t be said of Solo — one of Central Java’s major cities — as its city administration has yet to commit to eradicating dog meat trade in the city.
After meeting with the Dog Meat Free Indonesia (DMFI) coalition, which includes NGOs such as the Jakarta Animal Aid Network (JAAN), Animal Friends Jogja, Change for Animals Foundation and Humane Society International, Governor Ganjar Pranowo yesterday said that he has instructed the Solo city administration and city council to draft regional regulations both banning the dog meat trade and dog meat consumption in the city.
“Eat meat that is appropriate for consumption. Beef tastes better, chicken tastes better. There is the risk of rabies [from eating dog meat] and it could spread. That, I think, is what people who eat dog meat must realize,” Ganjar told reporters, as quoted by BeritaSatu.
Ganjar added that Indonesia’s law on food security does not recognize dog meat as edible, which should give the legal justification for regions such as Solo to ban it outright.
In October, a DMFI investigation found that there were 83 stalls selling dog meat in Solo, and that around 13,700 dogs are brutally slaughtered each month to meet demand in the city.
Solo Mayor FX Hadi Rudyatmo said that while his administration will comply with Ganjar’s order but he’ll do so cautiously, as opposed to enforcing an immediate ban on dog meat.
“We must find solutions because [the sellers] have families. They need food and to send their children to school. We can’t allow a ban to create more problems for the government,” he said yesterday, as quoted by Detik.
DMFI has been lobbying the central government heavily to ban the dog meat trade in the country since 2018. In January, they sent a letter to President Joko Widodo calling for immediate action and the letter was signed by more than 90 Indonesian and international celebrities including Cameron Diaz, Chelsea Islan, Jane Goodall, Sophia Latjuba, Simon Cowell and Ellen DeGeneres. The coalition also has a global petition signed by more than 930,000 people all over the world. That said, there is still no national ban of dog meat, as prohibitions have been passed on regional levels thus far.
As a Muslim-majority nation, the vast majority of Indonesians do not eat dog (it is considered haram or forbidden in Islam) but it is popular among certain people in some parts of the country including Sulawesi, the capital Jakarta and the popular tourist island of Bali. Coconuts took a look into the dangers facing Bali’s native dogs, including the island’s illicit dog meat trade, as part of our Coconut’s TV on iflix series.
Subscribe to The Coconuts Podcast for top trending news and pop culture from Southeast Asia and Hong Kong every Friday!