Tomohon City / Boston July 21, 2023 – The notorious Tomohon Market in North Indonesia has finally stopped slaughtering dogs and cats to supply the dog meat trade. It will become the first market of its kind in Indonesia to do so.
The market is very well known for being a hub for selling wild and live animals for consumption and has faced protests from campaigners spearheaded by the Dog Meat-Free Indonesia coalition (DMFI) for years. In 2019 DMFI released shocking footage of animals being killed and blow-torched while still alive, causing outrage across the community and internationally.
In 2021, the market was exposed as continuing to be up and running, despite the World Health Organization calling for live animal street sales to be ended after COVID-19, which FOUR PAWS called a “ticking timebomb” for a future pandemic. As of today, the extreme market continues to sell wild and protected species such as snakes, bats and reptiles for consumption.
Only this year, a petition started by Humane Society International (HSI) received more than 73,000 signatures calling for the Tomohon Extreme Markets closure. HSI and their local partners Animal Friends Manado Indonesia then lobbied the Tomohon government to take action – with effective results on the issue.
FOUR PAWS over the past two years have collected two million signatures calling for the end to the dog and cat meat trade across Southeast Asia, while bringing together 75 major travel tourism operators and businesses pledging to back the same campaign.
FOUR PAWS, the global animal welfare organization, said after years of animal welfare groups witnessing extreme cruelty at the hands of sellers at the Tomohon Market and campaigning for the issues to be addressed, “it is a huge relief.” The cruel practices and suffering of thousands of animals has finally come to an end.
Dr Karanvir Kukreja, FOUR PAWS Head of Campaigns Southeast Asia (Companion Animals), said, “This decision could not have come soon enough. The work of DMFI over the past five years has relentlessly exposed the Tomohon Extreme Market was one of the worst animal welfare cases we have seen when it comes to the dog and cat meat trade. What we would like to see now is a national ban after years of exposing severe and endless animal cruelty.”
Earlier this year, Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia banned the sale of dog meat altogether. A Nielsen opinion poll in January 2021, commissioned by Dog Meat Free Indonesia (DMFI), revealed that 93% of Indonesians support a national dog meat ban, and just 4.5% have ever consumed dog meat.
Dr. Kukreja added, “The trade also poses a risk to human health due to zoonotic disease and rabies. As we have seen from scientific studies that the emergence of SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) may have occurred via the animal markets and the live wildlife trade.
“Polls have also shown that the dog and cat meat trade is a concern for tourists. 24,200 tourists wrote to the tourism boards of Indonesia, Cambodia and Vietnam in 2021 asking for an end to the trade."
DMFI comprises local and international groups of Animal Friends Jogja, Jakarta Animal Aid Network, Change For Animals Foundation, Humane Society International and FOUR PAWS.
The dog meat trade is now banned in 21 cities and regencies across Indonesia. The regencies are Karanganyar, Sukoharjo, Semarang, Blora, Brebes, Purbalingga, Mojokerto, Temanggung, Jepara and Magelang. The cities are Salatiga, Malang, Semarang, Magelang, Blitar, Mojokerto, Medan, Surabaya and Jakarta.
FOUR PAWS is the global animal welfare organization for animals under direct human influence, which reveals suffering, rescues animals in need, and protects them. Founded in 1988 in Vienna by Heli Dungler and friends, the organization advocates for a world where humans treat animals with respect, empathy, and understanding. FOUR PAWS’ sustainable campaigns and projects focus on companion animals including stray dogs and cats, farm animals and wild animals – such as bears, big cats, and orangutans – kept in inappropriate conditions as well as in disaster and conflict zones. With offices in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Kosovo, the Netherlands, Switzerland, South Africa, Thailand, Ukraine, the UK, the USA and Vietnam, as well as sanctuaries for rescued animals in eleven countries, FOUR PAWS provides rapid help and long-term solutions. www.fourpawsusa.org