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World
21 Jun 2017

Tourists, beware of Indonesia's dog meat scam!

The thriving dog meat industry in Indonesia

A meat scam has been unearthed in Indonesia, where dog meat is growing popular day by day in contrast to other Asian nations.

Unsuspecting tourists are being served dog meat by traders eager to make a sale.

This might not only be shocking for some, but also very dangerous: many dogs are poisoned with cyanide, which can ultimately enter the human body though meat.

In context

The thriving dog meat industry in Indonesia
The thriving dog meat industry in Indonesia

Trade

The thriving dog meat industry in Indonesia

Most of the Muslims in Indonesia, 87% of the population, do not eat dogs. But it is common for Christians and other minorities.

An undercover investigator of Animals Australia tracked the industry for four months. He found dogs are brutally killed, shot, poisoned, strangled or beaten to death.

Animal cruelty is illegal in Indonesia. However, it's not applicable to dogs, which aren't considered livestock.

Despite religious restrictions, trade has flourished

Religious restrictions on eating dog meat seem to be diminishing too. The industry is thriving in many Muslim-majority areas as well in Bali, the one Hindu-dominated province in Indonesia, where it used to be traditionally discouraged at one time.

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Factors

Why is dog meat popular in the Muslim-majority country?

Contrary to other countries, economic upliftment has led to increased demand for dog meat.

It is cheaper for consumers than beef. Rearing dogs for meat is also comparatively inexpensive and needs less resources than for livestock.

Locals believe dog meat is the "warmest and most inexpensive form of protein". Superstition helps too: many think eating black dogs would cure asthma and other diseases.

How can you as a tourist stay safe?

Keep an eye out for the letters 'RW' written on the outside of food stalls in Bali; this indicates dog meat is served in that outlet. Just remain cautious and alert.

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