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In a landmark case, an Indonesian court in Yogyakarta’s Kulon Progo regency has sentenced a dog meat trader to a 10-month jail term and ordered him to pay a 150 million rupiah fine ($10,000).

The 48-year-old man was charged under animal cruelty laws for transporting 78 dogs inside sacks placed on the back of his pickup truck. Ten of the dogs died due to lack of food and water, and six died later.

Edy Sameaputty, a spokesman for Kulon Progo district court, said to AFP: “This is the first-ever prosecution for such a case.”

According to Dog Meat-Free Indonesia (an umbrella organization comprised of several national and international animal protection groups) only 7% of the Indonesian population ever consumes dog meat but the trade threatens the health and safety of the whole country (as many have rabies). They hope this conviction will serve as a deterrent to traders who chose to operate in this illegal trade.

Every year, millions of dogs are brutally transported throughout Indonesia to supply the demand for dog meat. Many are stolen family pets and illegally trafficked dogs collected from the streets and rural communities. The flesh of dogs is still consumed in other countries too, such as China, Vietnam, Nigeria, and even Switzerland (In 2012, the Swiss newspaper Tages-Anzeiger reported that dogs are eaten regularly by a few farmers in rural areas, and this is not illegal as long as farmers slaughter the dogs for personal consumption). 

In the Javan city of Surakarta, over 13,000 dogs are slaughtered each month. For the Western world, this may seem a very high number, but we should not forget that the West slaughters a much bigger number of pigs, the flesh of whom is increasing in popularity.  Research from Emory University has found that pigs can outsmart dogs and chimpanzees. They will suffer as much as the Indonesian dogs when kept in crates and cramped conditions for life, and then brutally killed after being suffocated by gas (a common slaughter method in the West). 

Both pigs and dogs deserve a vegan world where none will be killed for food.