PHOTO: A caged dog destined for the cook-pot in Hanoi, Vietnam. (photo via Flickr/shankar s.)
An undercover investigation conducted by Australia’s leading animal protection organization has uncovered a disturbing trend in Bali.
According to evidence submitted to ABC’s 7.30 program, many tourists are unknowingly contributing to the Indonesian island’s flourishing dog meat trade.
The Animals Australia (AA) investigation found that in addition to being captured and killed in cruel manners, dogs are being poisoned to death, putting travelers who eat the meat at potential risk for illness.
“Dog meat is essentially filtering into the tourist food chain [in Bali],” AA campaign director Lyn White told 7.30. “Tourists will walk down a street, they’ll see a street store selling satay but what they are not realizing is the letters RW on the store mean it is dog meat being served.”
While eating dog meat is not illegal in Bali, the trade appears to clearly break animal cruelty and food safety laws.
The Bali Animal Welfare Association (BAWA) is working to combat the trend and has documented at least 70 restaurants in Bali that serve dog meat.
New South Wales Poisons Information Center director and head of toxicology at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital Dr. Andrew Dawson told ABC that travelers could potentially be putting themselves at risk by eating dog meat that comes from poisoned dogs.
“Firstly, cyanide is not going to be destroyed by cooking. So there will be cyanide throughout the dog’s body,” said Dawson. “The actual risk depends on how much poison is in the dog meat.”
Rabies is another concern. ABC reported that there have been 20 known human deaths in Bali from rabies since 2015.
READ MORE: Dog Meat Banned at Chinese Dog Meat Festival
Although not a tradition, dog meat consumption has taken off of late, and the millions of annual visitors to Bali may be unintentionally joining in.
“It’s fueled by a minority that came to work, really in the hospitality industry, and unfortunately it has taken off,” White added.
Wary tourists looking to avoid contributing to Bali’s dog meat trade can click here to view a list from Animals Australia of more than a dozen activities to do in Bali that don’t harm animals.