The Indonesian government has agreed to ban the trade in dog and cat meat to improve its image to foreign tourists after animal rights groups raised concerns over abuse and the spread of rabies.
An accord was reached on banning the dog and cat meat trade, as well as a prohibition of health certifications for dog meat sold for human consumption, the Dog Meat-Free Indonesia coalition said in a statement on Tuesday.
The coalition, comprised of local and international animal welfare organizations, has worked hard against the dog and cat meat consumption and trade, The Jakarta Post reported.
The statement came after a two-day meeting of the National Coordination of Animal Welfare in Jakarta earlier this month. The meeting was attended by representatives from the Agriculture Ministry and non-government organizations, including Jakarta Animan Aid Network, Animal Friends Jogja, Change for Animal Foundation, London-based Humane Society International (HSI) and Four Paws.
The dog and cat meat trade threatened Indonesia’s international reputation, Syamsul Ma’arif, the director of veterinary public health, was quoted as saying in the statement. Low standards of animal welfare are unacceptable to potential tourists who will consequently refuse to visit Indonesia, he added.
HSI’s president Kitty Block said she hopes other Asian countries such as China, South Korea, India and Vietnam will follow Indonesia ’s footsteps to ban the dog and cat meat trade.