In Indonesia, dog meat business booms despite welfare concerns

by | Jul 22, 2022 | World

Medan, Indonesia – For civil servant Silas Sihombing, the reasons for eating dog meat could not be much simpler.“Today I’m eating dog because I’m hungry,” Sihombing told Al Jazeera in between mouthfuls of grilled dog meat at Lau Dimbo Simalem restaurant in Medan, North Sumatra.
“And look, it’s making me sweat. Dog will do that, the meat makes you feel hot.”
Dog meat restaurants are found all over Medan, where the Indigenous Batak people are known for their taste for the protein.
About 7 percent of Indonesians are estimated to eat dog meat, according to Dog Meat Free Indonesia, a group that campaigns against the dog meat trade.
Although 87 percent of Indonesia’s 270 million people are Muslim and view dog products as haram, or forbidden, in the same way as pork, about 9 percent of the population is Christian.
Dog meat is most often eaten in predominantly Christian parts of the country, such as North Sumatra, North Sulawesi, and East Nusa Tenggara, where just 9 percent of the population is Muslim.
While animal rights groups object to the trade on the grounds that it promotes cruelty and poses public health risks such as rabies outbreaks, many Indonesians see eating dog meat as no different than consuming chicken or beef and balk at the suggestion that it should be banned.
Lau Dimbo Simalem restaurant sells grilled dog, dog soup, and dog curry [ …

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