The cities of Tomohon and Langowan in North Sulawesi are currently in the global spotlight after campaigners from the organization Dog Meat-Free Indonesia released disturbing video footage showing dogs being bludgeoned and torched for their meat in the cities’ live animal markets in recently.
The video sparked outrage globally for the perceived cruelty and the horrific treatment of animals in the markets (which also include cats, monkeys, and bats) and calls for Indonesian authorities to shut them down. However, it appears that the highest-ranking government official in the province isn’t convinced that there is anything wrong with the markets.
“I don’t feel there’s [any cruelty]. The market is called ‘Extreme Market’ because they sell meat from extreme animals like snakes, dogs, bats, and rats, which are unconventional. But the way they are butchered is neither cruel nor careless,” North Sulawesi Governor Olly Dondokambey told Detik yesterday.
Olly added that eating these “extreme” animals is a local tradition.
“It doesn’t need to be stopped. Those who eat the animals are fine and healthy. What’s worse is how people suck out and eat the brains of monkeys who had been freshly butchered in Jakarta, but that is never exposed,” he said.
“The video became viral because [the campaigners] didn’t present the information correctly. Everywhere people eat dogs, there are many in Korea and China.”
In relation to monkey meat in Jakarta, there have been media investigations into the trade. One investigation by Merdeka found that there are places where meat from “extreme” animals are sold discretely, including monkey brain soup, which is believed by locals to have medicinal properties and able to enhance sexual performance.