Australian tourists are unwittingly eating dog meat in Bali, according to evidence provided to the ABC’s 7.30 program.
Horrifying footage shot by Animals Australia on the popular Indonesian island shows how dogs are caught with nooses, tied up and killed before their meat is sold as chicken satay sticks to tourists.
‘When we embarked on this investigation, we didn’t have any idea that we would be documenting that dog meat is entering into tourist areas,’ Animals Australia’s Lyn White told the ABC’s 7.30 program.
‘We just know how deeply this will distress and shock tourists that have gone to Bali.’
Disturbing footage aired on the program on Monday night showed one dog meat vendor approaching a group of Australian tourists at the popular Double Six Beach near Seminyak.
‘Just one dollar… satay chicken… not dog,’ the man explained, showing the group of men a box labelled ‘sate.’
‘As long as it’s not dog,’ one tourist replied.
When an Animals Australia investigator approached the vendor just moments later asking what he was selling, he replied: ‘Dog satay.’
‘This is why you have a picture of a dog here?’ the investigator asked, pointing to a pictured strapped to his moped.
‘Yeah, yeah,’ he replied.
During his four-month investigation, a man the ABC named as Luke watched as dogs were bludgeoned, hanged by the throat until they died of asphyxiation or had poison forced down their throats.
‘Aside from the cruelty, the greatest shock was to discover that tourists are unwittingly eating dog meat,’ Luke told the broadcaster.
‘A group of Aussie tourists enjoyed the dog meat satays so much they went back for seconds. Yet had they known the origin of the meat they would have been sickened.’
Ms White, Animals Australia’s Director of Investigations, said the poisoning of dogs whose meat was sold as food posed obvious health risks.
‘Incredibly poisoned meat is entering the food trade through the dog meat trade,’ Ms White said.
She added: ‘This is a profoundly distressing situation. Not only is the suffering of the dogs horrifying, tourists are unwittingly fuelling the trade.
‘Most tourists have no idea that the letters RW on the outside of popular street food stalls in Bali indicates that dog meat is being served.
‘In addition, mobile dog meat vendors are deliberately targeting tourists on beaches and are prepared to lie about the origin of the meat to get a sale.’
Some people in Bali believe dog meat is a healthy alternative, and the belief that it increases male virility and its low cost has seen its popularity grow over the years.
Ms White said her organisation is working to end the savage practice without ‘condemning’ the Balinese culture.
‘We have based Animal’s Australia’s Veterinary Director in Bali as part of our offer to partner with the Bali government to create animal welfare improvements on the island,’ she said.
‘This is not about condemning a culture, it is about addressing unnecessary cruelty and seeking to transform a situation of unimaginable suffering into a positive outcome.
‘Dog eating in Bali was fuelled by a minority group who came to the island to work in the hospitality industry – it is not a Balinese practice.
‘For thousands of years Bali’s dogs have lived peacefully in villages with locals – it is our hope that they will be able to do so again.’