Center for Indonesian Veterinary Analytical Studies
Saturday, 19 January 2019

CIVAS Participation in JAAN National Seminar on “The Contribution of Dog Meat Trade in Indonesia Free from Rabies 2020”

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

By: Riana A. Arief

 On May 20, 2015, the Center for Indonesian Veterinary Analytical Studies (CIVAS) was invited to the National Seminar on The Contribution of Dog Meat Trade in Indonesia Free from Rabies 2020. The seminar was held by Jakarta Animal Aid Network (JAAN) at the DKI Jakarta Province Animal and Fish Health Laboratory as part of the Dogs Are Not Food Campaign. The objective of the seminar was to increase public awareness on the dangers associated with consuming dog meat and its contribution to rabies issues in Indonesia. Over 30 participants attended the seminar. Representatives from CIVAS were M.D. Winda Widyastuti, MSi, DVM and Riana Arief, MS, DVM.

The seminar was opened by Pudjiatmoko, DVM, PhD, Director of Animal Health from the Directorate General of Livestock and Animal Health Services of the Indonesian Ministry of Agriculture. Speakers of the seminar were:

  1. Pudjiatmoko, DVM, PhD, Director of Animal Health, Directorate General of Livestock and Animal Health Services, Indonesian Ministry of Agriculture, with topic “The Contribution of Dog Meat Trade in Spreading Rabies in Indonesia”;
  2. Misriyah, Mepid, DVM, Head of Zoonosis Control Subdirectorate, Directorate General of the Control of Diseases from Animals, Indonesian Ministry of Health, with “Indonesian Free from Rabies 2020 Program”;
  3. R. Nurcahyo Nugroho, Msi, DVM, from the Agriculture Quarantine Agency with topic “Quarantine Procedures for Rabies Endemic Areas in Indonesia”;
  4. Wiwiek Bagja, DVM, Chair of the Indonesia Veterinary Medical Association (IVMA) Advisory Board with topic “Complexity of Issues surrounding Rabies Control in Indonesia”;
  5. Karin Franken from JAAN with topic “Dogs Are Not Food”; and
  6. Angelina Pane from Animal Friends Jogja (AFJ) with topic “Investigation of the Dog Meat Trade in Indonesia”.

Several important points were brought up in the seminar. Rabies is a life-threatening disease transmitted from animals to human through bites and saliva. Dogs serve as the main host for rabies. Over 98% of human rabies cases in Indonesia were contracted from dogs, while the remaining 2% was from cats and monkeys/apes. Currently only Papua, West Papua, Bangka Belitung Islands, Riau Islands and West Nusa Tenggara provinces are historically free from rabies, while Central Java, DI Yogyakarta, East Java, DKI Jakarta, and West Kalimantan obtained rabies free statuses through eradication programs. Rabies is endemic in all other provinces in Indonesia. Data from the Agriculture Quarantine Agency reveals over 19,000 rabies host animals (dogs, cats, monkeys/apes) were transported between the islands of Java and Sumatra in 2014. This highlights the importance of proper quarantine procedures to prevent rabies from spreading between regions.

Meanwhile, Dr. Wiwiek spoke about the complexity of issues related to rabies control in Indonesia. There is a conflict of interest between the control and eradication of rabies as an important zoonotic disease and animal welfare. Fundamentally, dogs have many roles in Indonesia. They are the main host of rabies, culturally people care for dogs and use them in many ways (free-roam, guard animals, consumed for meat), and dogs also hold the status of a companion/pet animal. Concerted voices and efforts are needed if we want to improve the welfare of dogs in Indonesia, both in terms of how dogs are used by the community and controlled by the government.

JAAN and AFJ reported common practices related to dog trade and meat consumption in several places in Indonesia. JAAN stated that current trade practices have high risks in spreading rabies because it encourages the transportation of dogs between cities and islands. Dog meat consumed in Jakarta was reported to come from Bandung, Sukabumi, Cianjur and sometimes from Bali. AFJ investigation of the dog trade system supplying for Yogyakarta found dogs mainly came from West Java and areas surrounding Yogyakarta.

Further investigation noted a marked number of dogs being picked up for the trade were unhealthy. Vehicles transporting dogs typically use back/small roads to avoid government inspection at checkpoints. Dogs are usually slaughtered at the destination. All slaughter facilities observed did not provide adequate personal protective equipment for their workers. Hence, current dog meat trade practices have high risks of transporting rabies infected dogs from endemic areas and exposing it to people involved in the trade and slaughtering of dogs. Immediate action from the government and the public is needed to mitigate this situation if we want to achieve Indonesia Free from Rabies 2020. This is also one of the reasons why JAAN launched the Dogs Are Not Food Campaign.

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