Indonesia announced that it is preparing a regulation to ban the trade of meat derived from pets and exotic animals, aiming to promote animal welfare and rein in disease. Unsurprisingly, the announcement was cheered by animal rights campaigners.
People in some parts of the Southeast Asian nation are known to consume dog meat and the government faces pressure from animal rights groups to tackle the issue.
Syamsu Ma’arif, director of veterinary public health at the agriculture ministry, is reported as saying“(Dog meat) is not food, according to our food law,” and added that the ministry was still gathering material to back the planned regulation. However, he gave no timeline for it to be issued or when it would take effect.
There is no data on how much dog meat is consumed in Indonesia, but 2015 research cited by Indonesia's agriculture ministry showed that about 730,000 dogs enter the capital, Jakarta, from West Java each year for consumption.
By comparison, and according to the Asia Canine Protection Alliance, nearby Vietnam consumes 5 million dogs every year.
For the purposes of discussion, it is reported that 56 billion farmed animals are slaughtered for human consumption globally each year. So why is it that people generally are accepting of cattle, pigs, chickens, and fish on their plates, but upset about dogs and other pets, like cats, ending up on the menu? The question is intended to advocate for one view over another, it's simply asking a question about what underpins people's attitudes regarding the different roles of different species where, for example, one as a pet and the other is a considerable commodity.
The book Animals, Welfare and Law notes that there is a term that applies to this discrepancy between species - it's called "bioprejudice". "It is a word inferring that certain species of animals have benefited from having greater protections as a result of their greater human appeal. Large, iconic endangered animals such as pandas, elephants and whales are notable examples where it accepted the public are much more likely to associate positively with, than with alternative species such as insects, or other "creepy crawly" species".
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