A number of celebrities, including Pierce Brosnan, Cameron Diaz, and Simon Cowell, have signed a petition that pushes for the end of the dog and cat meat trade in Indonesia.
The letter, that addresses President Joko Widodo of Indonesia, was signed by more than 90 names in the acting, music, and sports industries. The petition urges President Widodo to end the “brutal slaughter of millions of dogs and cats for the meat trade,” reads a new press release.
Joining Brosnan, Diaz, and Cowell in signing the petition is Ellen DeGeneres, US popular talk show host and animal rights activist. In the past, DeGeneres has used her platform to advocate for animal welfare, at the end of last year she launched a campaign to raise money for elephant conservation, in response to President Trump’s proposals to lift the US animal trophy ban. Actor Ricky Gervais has also added his name to the petition, in April the comedian spoke up for the animals when he said “animal cruelty is just wrong” regardless of tradition.
Courtney Cox, Alicia Silverstone, Dame Judi Dench, Peter Egan, Uzo Abuda, Ricky Gervais, Shay Mitchell, Owen Wilson, Moby, Leona Lewis, Joaquin Phoenix, Elizabeth Hurley, and Joanna Lumley, have also signed the document.
The letter was prompted by a recently launched investigation by the Dog Meat-Free Indonesia coalition. Using footage from North Sulawesi’s animal markets, the investigation exposed the reality of the dog and cat meat trade, which sees more than one million dogs and cats being transported through the country to markets, slaughterhouses, and restaurants.
“These animals, many of them stolen pets, are subjected to crude and brutal methods of capture, transport and slaughter, and the immense suffering and fear they must endure is heartbreaking and absolutely shocking,” the letter reads.
“The footage from markets in North Sulawesi is deplorable, and clearly documents the routine use of brutal handling and killing, including repeatedly bludgeoning animals over the head, killing animals in front of their terrified cage-mates, and blowtorching dogs whilst they are still alive.”
As well as reported cruelty, the trade poses health risks to local communities. The spread of rabies, as well as violent gangs stealing dogs from their owners, threatens the health and safety of Indonesian citizens. The press release pointed out that the rabies endemic impacts 26 of the country’s 34 provinces, and that “it only takes one infected dog to cause an outbreak.” Further, the World Health Organization has “explicitly highlighted” the dog meat trade as a factor that spreads rabies in Indonesia.
The letter also highlights how Indonesia’s reputation of a tourist destination is falling due to the pet meat trade and points out that a number of countries across Asia have already banned the trading and consumption of dog and cat meat.
As well as international celebrities, a number of Indonesia’s biggest names have grouped together to support the cause. Anggun Cipta Sasmi, Gamaliel Tapiheru, Cakra Khan, Nina Tamam, Melanie Subono, and actors Sophia Latjuba, Sarah Sechan, and Dimas Beck all signed the petition.
Lola Webber, the Director of Change For Animals Foundation, added: “This year, 2018, marks the Year of the Dog, and we stand united in our call on the central and provincial governments of Indonesia to take action against the dog meat trade to show the world that animal cruelty will not be tolerated, and to safeguard both animal and human health and safety.”
Image Credit: Wikicommons | Cameron Diaz | Ricky Gervais