Jakarta, Sep 20 (EFE).- An adoption program will allow 45 rescued dogs to find a new life in Canada after they avoided clandestine slaughterhouses in Indonesia, a country where 13,700 canines are legally slaughtered monthly for consumption.
“In November last year we closed down a slaughterhouse with the Police in Sukoharjo, Central Java, and the 53 rescued dogs were sent to Jakarta. They were in horrible conditions. In fact, we were afraid they might not survive, but luckily most of them did,” Karin Franken, Dog Meat Free Indonesia association coordinator told EFE on Tuesday.
The 45 animals will travel from Monday to Wednesday in three groups of 15 from the Indonesian capital to Montreal, Canada, where they will be welcomed by Canadian families, since “in Indonesia it is difficult to find a home for mixed-breed dogs.”
“Our partners in Canada can find good homes for them, so we let them go,” said Franken, a co-founder of the Jakarta Animal Aid Network.
For the 45 dogs it is the beginning of a new life following the nightmare that ended almost a year ago, when they were rescued from the truck in which they were traveling tied up and put in sacks.
The remaining dogs (three of the 53 rescued died, but 16 of some of the bitches that were pregnant were also born) are currently staying at the network’s shelter.
This rescue was one of the most mediatic in Indonesia due to the impact of the poor conditions in which the animals were transported and because they seemed to mark a change in the attitude of the country’s authorities. The driver of the truck and the owner of the illegal slaughterhouse were given prison sentences.
Dog meat consumption is not explicitly prohibited in Indonesia, except in some provinces and cities, but animal trafficking is often carried out in an opaque manner and against laws such as animal health or food safety, which allows authorities to act.
The association estimates that 7 percent of the Indonesian population eats dog meat, a low percentage, but that in a country of 270 million inhabitants it is equivalent to almost 19 million people, although not all eat it on a daily basis.
The figure coincides with a survey carried out by the consulting firm Nielsen two years ago, in which 93 percent of Indonesians were in favor of a law that prohibits eating dog meat.
One of the epicenters of consumption of this animal is the city of Solo, in Central Java, near where the dogs were rescued and where, according to DMFI, 13,700 dogs are slaughtered for human consumption every month, which presents a public health problem.
Most of the dogs, Franken said, come from East Java, where there are many cases of rabies, and another important part of Bali, where this disease has not been eradicated, making the trade of these animals from one region of the country to another illegal.
Although dog meat is banned for Muslims, the majority religion in Indonesia and also in Solo, in that region the consumption of these animals is considered a local custom of which many locals are proud.
This could change little by little with the help of the city’s mayor, Gibran Rakabuming Raka – eldest son of the country’s president, Joko Widodo – who, despite difficulties, is considering banning the dog meat trade or at least imposing a stricter regulation.
“We are aware that it is not easy for him, but he is making a good decision to start regulating it,” Franken said. EFE