A new investigation has revealed unsuspecting tourists in Bali have been served dog meat in their dinner instead of chicken.
The probe, which aired on Australia’s ABC and led by Animals Australia, revealed dogs are regularly cooked up and served to unsuspecting tourists. It is legal to sell dog meat in Bali.
According to the investigation, many of the dogs are poisoned, raising questions about the potential health risk to humans. Dogs were also allegedly bludgeoned and strangled.
The four-month investigation was led by a man calling himself Luke, who infiltrated Bali’s dog meat trade by posing as a documentary maker.
“I began the investigation by pinpointing and getting to know the key players in Bali’s completely unregulated dog-meat industry,” he said. “Eventually, they invited me to join them as their gangs stole, hunted, poisoned and killed dogs.”
Luke’s footage shows dogs being rounded up and shot, hit over the head and poisoned with cyanide.
“The catching was fiercely aggressive,” Luke recalled. “The dogs screamed and writhed as the noose strangled them. Some tried to bite through the ties to free themselves but with their muzzles lashed, their attempts were futile.”
According to toxicologists, the cyanide used to poison the dogs isn’t removed through cooking. “The actual risk depends upon how much poison is in the dog meat,” Doctor Andrew Dawson told ABC.
It isn’t just cyanide-laced dog meat people have to worry about. According to Luke, some of the dogs are captured in areas where rabies is prevalent.
“Strictly, it’s against the law to move dogs from a rabies red zone to other areas of Bali but that’s what’s happening because of the dog-meat trade,” Animals Australia campaign director Lyn White told ABC.
A dog-killer named Pak Puris told Luke he doesn’t eat dog as “it makes him want to vomit.” The 83-year-old has been working as a dog culler for three decades, but says he is too old to do any other job.
Investigators found a street food seller in Seminyak who admitted he served dog satay, but told tourists it was chicken.
“Tourists will walk down a street, they’ll see a street store selling satay but what they are not realising is the letters RW on the store mean it is dog meat being served,” White said.
According to White, a Christian minority introduced dog meat to the island, but it has since become popular with the Hindu majority.
“It’s fuelled by a minority that came to work, really in the hospitality industry, and unfortunately it has taken off,” Luke said, adding, “of course, you market any product as increasing men’s virility, no matter how unfounded, and all of a sudden it becomes popular.”
The Bali Animal Welfare Association (BAWA) has been investigating the issue for more than 10 years and estimates 70,000 dogs are killed each year for food, and that it has documented 70 restaurants serving dog. It tries to rescue dogs and is currently looking after about 150 dogs.