Dishevelled dogs waiting in wire cages to be beaten to death and cats blowtorched while they are still alive – this is the horrifying reality of Indonesia’s live meat trade.
There are more than 200 ‘live’ meat markets in the south Asian country, and Downton Abbey actor Peter Egan travelled to two of the most notorious in order to lay bare the suffering of animals condemned to this fate.
These deeply disturbing scenes were filmed at Tomohon’s ‘Extreme Market’ and Langowan Traditional Market, both located in North Sulawesi province.
Distressed dogs sit in a cramped and sweltering cage waiting to be slaughtered at an Indonesian meat market in North Sulawesi
The animals are often stolen pets which are illegally transported across state lines before being beaten to death and sold as meat
The animals are forced to watch as their cage-mates are battered to death before being blow-torched to remove their hair
The markets do not just deal in dog and cat meat, but also serve up reptiles such as pythons and lizards to eager customers.
However, dog and cat meat are staples of such places with more than a million of the animals slaughtered in Indonesia each year alone.
Videos from the two markets, visited by Mr Egan alongside the Dog Free Meat Indonesia campaign group, show animals forced into cages in hot weather, awaiting their fate.
Animals were filmed being clubbed to death in full view of the cage-mates, making the experience as terrifying as possible.
After being beaten over the head with large pieces of wood the animals are taken to be blowtorched so the hair can be stripped away.
However, many of the pitiable creatures are still moving or twitching as the flames are applied to their bodies.
The methods used to slaughter the dogs are basic and typically involves hitting them over the head with a large piece of wood (pictured)
Before being killed the animals are kept in cramped metal cages, adding to their suffering
Puppies which have been blowtorched to remove their hair are then skewered on the end of sticks and served to customers
Mr Egan said: ‘Nothing could have prepared me for the sickening horrors I witnessed.
‘This part of Indonesia is world-renowned for its breathtaking volcanic mountain landscape, stunning dive waters and beautiful beaches, but the ugly brutality of the dog and cat meat trades will haunt me for the rest of my life.
‘The absolute indifference to animal suffering was so utterly shocking and heartbreaking.
‘I saw countless dogs and cats waiting to be slaughtered, to lose their lives in the most brutal and cruel way.
‘There was nothing I could do to take away their pain, but their pleading eyes and the stomach churning smell of blood and burning dog hair, are scenes of hell that I shall never forget.
Downtown Abbey actor Peter Egan agreed to tour two of the markets along with a film crew in order to document the shocking conditions
Standards of hygiene at the markets are virtually non-existent, with pools of blood left to sit on the floor which can be smelled by the animals and increases stress levels
Campaigners say that slaughtering and selling animals in conditions such as this is cruel and increases the likelihood of contracting a fatal disease such as rabies
‘I am committed to exposing these horrors and to working with the Indonesian and global community to fulfil our united goal of ending the abhorrent cruelty of the dog and cat meat trades.’
While there, Mr Egan paid one trader in order to save four dogs from being slaughtered, but was not able to rescue any more.
Only a minority of Indonesians eat dog or cat meat, but those who do claim it has healing properties or defend it as traditional.
Campaigners say the practice is cruel, spreads deadly diseases such as rabies, and leads to thieves stealing pet dogs so they can be slaughtered.
Dog Free Meat Indonesia is calling for a complete ban on the practice in Indonesia, following the example of other countries in the region such as Taiwan, Hong Kong, the Philippines and Thailand.
While dogs are a mainstay of such markets, other meats are also offered for sale such as cats and snakes (pictured)
Lizards are among the other animals butchered for their meat and sold at the markets
Lola Webber, Change For Animals Foundation co-founder and DMFI representative who accompanied Peter Egan to the markets, said: ‘Thousands of dogs and cats are killed at the markets in North Sulawesi each week, and it is estimated that 90 per cent are stolen pets, owned or street dogs.
‘Some 80 per cent are imported from other provinces, which is illegal under the country’s anti-rabies law prohibiting the movement of dogs across provincial borders in rabies endemic areas.
‘Having visited the dog and cat meat markets in North Sulawesi countless times, the horrors never cease to bring me to despair.
‘Despite DMFI’s exposés of the cruelty, warnings of the dangers to public health and risk of rabies transmission, nationwide and global condemnation, and promises of action by local and central governments, business continues as usual.’