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article imageCrackdown on dog meat over rabies fears in Indonesia

By Karen Graham     Oct 2, 2015 in Food
Jakarta - Activists are applauding the decision of Jakarta's governor in ordering an investigation into dog meat sales as a prerequisite to regulating the dog meat trade in the country.
Although the consumption of dog meat is frowned upon by some, and is considered haram, or forbidden, by Muslims, eating dog meat is a common practice in Indonesia, particularly in Jakarta where it is a customary dish for Christians of several ethnic groups including Batak, Manado and Javanese.
Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama ordered the investigation over concerns about the movement of dogs over internal borders, and the threat of diseases, including rabies. Animal protection groups in Indonesia claim the dogs are mostly strays, although some dogs are being snatched from their owners.
Just last week, according to Natashya Gutierrez, writing for the Rappler, the Marine Agriculture and Food Security Agency (MAFSA) said around 40,000 dogs are delivered to Jakarta daily in order to meet the demand for dog meat.
Even with the cultural differences in people, those who consume dog meat say doing so is thought of as being a cultural thing. One woman was asked if she feels bad eating a dog. “I eat it just to honor the culture, usually during a party,” she said. She added that while feeling guilty sometimes, “we just need to trick our mind by thinking that the dog that was killed wasn’t one of those cute dogs, but a (stray) dog.”
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Co-founder of the Jakarta Animal Aid Network (JAAN) Karin Franken approves of a regulation on dog meat. She says it will contribute to the suppression of rabies and other diseases. Since 2008, JAAN has been researching the distribution routes for dogs coming into the country. She says about 40 dogs come into the capital every day from Bali, but the supply of dogs in Jakarta also come from Solo in Central Java and Sukabumi in West Java.
Regulation of dog meat a "sensitive" issue
Sri Hartari is a Jakarta foods inspector, and her job is to make the rounds of the Pasar Senen market. According to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, there is no central slaughterhouse where dogs are taken to be butchered, instead, a customer comes by a meat stand, chooses a dog and then watches as it is killed and butchered.
After being clubbed into unconsciousness, or hopefully being dead, the carcasses are thrown on the ground and blow-torched. This goes on while dogs in cages nearby watch. The dog's legs are often chopped off before the customer takes the dead animal home. Dog meat is a cheap meat, too, usually costing about 250,000 rupiah, or US$17.00.
Butcher in Bali preparing dog meat. (2013)
Butcher in Bali preparing dog meat. (2013)
Darjamuni Taseda, the head of the MAFSA said on Wednesday they agency was drafting a gubernatorial regulation aimed at preventing the spread of disease in regulating dog meat. Not only would the regulation give a city the right to control the distribution of dog meat, but it would also put more emphasis on dog owners keeping their pets safe.
He pointed out that dog owners must make sure their pets received routine shots. He also pointed out that dog owners must ensure that their pets lived in a healthy and happy environment. “Our main purpose is to prevent the spread of rabies, therefore we will not only regulate the distribution of dog meat but also ask residents to take good care of their dogs,” Darjamuni said.
Can you get rabies from preparing or eating raw dog meat?
Preparing or eating raw dog meat will put you at high risk of being infected by the rabies virus. There are documented cases of rabies being transmitted to butchers cutting the carcasses of rabid animals. Actually, going even further, preparing meat from wildlife is also a high risk activity, and hunters should wear gloves and protective clothing when preparing wildlife for consumption.
More about Dog meat, Indonesia, regulation of sales, spread of rabies, Jakarta
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