Indonesia’s Tomohon “Extreme” wet market in North Sulawesi province has officially banned the dog and cat meat trade. The historic agreement between the last six remaining dog and cat traders and animal protection organisations was signed, and 25 dogs and three cats were rescued from the market before they were killed for food by Humane Society International (HSI) as part of the deal. The agreement was to permanently close and end all trafficking, slaughter, and sale of dogs and cats, and it will also disrupt the supply network of dog and cat thieves and traffickers on the island of Sulawesi.
The mayor of Tomohon, Caroll Senduk, also signed into law a ban on all future dog and cat meat trading at the market because of the risk of rabies transmission.
Investigations have suggested that more than 130,000 dogs are slaughtered at Sulawesi markets every year. Tomohon Extreme Market ― which sells live and slaughtered dogs and cats alongside butchered pythons, bats and rats ― is the most notorious of them all. Footage from HSI at the market in March 2022 shows dogs cowering and panting in transport cages, then being yanked out by the neck to be bludgeoned to death. HIS is a member of the Dog Meat Free Indonesia coalition, which signed the deal with the traders.
Lola Webber, HSI’s director of campaigns to end the dog meat trade, said: “With Tomohon Extreme Market going dog and cat meat-free, in addition to the permanent closure of the slaughterhouses that killed hundreds of these animals every week, the impact will be far-reaching, shutting down business for the traders’ vast network of traffickers, dog thieves and slaughterers. North Sulawesi is an epicentre of Indonesia’s cruel and dangerous dog and cat meat trade; the cruelty is obscene and the public health risks from open slaughter and contaminated meat are unparalleled. It is a huge victory for animal welfare and public safety that never again will dogs and cats be bludgeoned and blowtorched at Tomohon market, and we hope this unprecedented agreement will set the standard for other markets and leaders to follow.” Unfortunately, the killing of other animals in wet markets, including farm animals such as chickens or ducks, is still allowed, not only in Indonesia but in most countries.