Thousands of dogs are stolen for their meat in Bali. Photo: iStock.
Thousands of dogs are stolen for their meat in Bali. Photo: iStock.

Investigations conducted by animal rights groups have pointed out that the snatching of dogs for their meat is still a prominent practice in Bali, Indonesia.

Former Governor of Bali I Made Mangku Pastika issued an official letter that advised the police of the risk of disease from dog meat back in 2017. This had little effect as there is no penalty for the sale of dog meat, according to Bapak Madriana, the head of Animal Husbandry and Health in Bali, reported.

As the authorities gradually educated the public, vendors of the meat took their businesses underground.

Rabies was dormant in Bali until 2008, when a dog carrying the disease jumped from a fishing boat onto the island. Since that dog’s arrival, over 100 dog deaths caused by rabies have been confirmed by the Bali Animal Welfare Association (BAWA).

While groups such as BAWA work to protect local dogs from rabies, poachers used the virus as a front for hunting them down and selling them in the “dogma trade”—where dogs are stolen and sold for their meat.

According to Janice Girardi of BAWA, dogs are not only stolen for their meat. Often unwanted dogs are sold by families, sometimes for meat but other times for breeding of popular types of dog.

Under the Indonesian penal code, the maximum penalty for stealing a dog is 15 years of jail time.