Stars urge Indonesia’s president to ban ‘brutal’ trade in dog meat

International starrings of acting, music and sports have urged Indonesia’s president to ban what they say is a “brutal” trade in dog and cat meat for human consumption.

The appeal comes after Indonesian campaigners against animal cruelty and Humane Society International in January uncovered markets on the island of Sulawesi where dogs were bludgeoned by the thousands and blow-torched alive to remove their hair before onlookers, including children.

The letter to President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo released Monday said if Indonesia joined other Asian nations that have already banned the cruel trade, it would be “celebrated globally” and aim a stain on the country’s reputation.

The coalition of campaigners, calling itself Dog Meat-Free Indonesia, also warned of health risks posed by the trade due to its potential to spread rabies.

“These animals, many of them stolen pets, is submitted to crude and brutal methods of capture, transport and carnage, and the immense suffering and fear they must endure is heartbreaking and perfectly shocking, ” the letter said.

Actress Cameron Diaz, talk demonstrate host Ellen DeGeneres, talent spotter Simon Cowell, comedian Ricky Gervais, Indonesian pop singer Anggun and musician Moby are among the more than 90 celebrities listed in the letter.

Dog meat is feed by only a small percentage of Indonesians, but in a country of more than 250 million people it was better represents a significant trade.

Thousands of dogs and cats are slaughtered weekly in North Sulawesi, most of which are imported from other provinces in Indonesia, according to the anti-animal cruelty groups.

After the blaze of bad advertising in January, the infamous Tomohon Extreme Market in North Sulawesi stopped the public slaughter of dogs, but video shot by campaigners presented dog carcass were still being delivered from other locations.

“We are so grateful to these global and Indonesian hotshots who have come together to support Dog Meat-Free Indonesia’s efforts to end this cruel and dangerous industry, ” Humane Society International President Kitty Block said in a statement.

“We respectfully advise President Widodo to work with us on a solution that protects is not merely Indonesia’s dogs and cats but also the health of its people, ” she said.

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