Bali, green rice fields as far as the eye can see and crystal clear water that will make any traveler melt into a pool of relaxation. Bali is the ideal holiday destination and presents many cultural activities and exquisite cuisine. But before you take the first bite of that chicken satay, take a look around you in the restaurant for a sign that reads “RW”. This means that the establishment is selling dog meat aka rica-rica.
Unknown to tourists “RW” stands for Rintek Wuuk meaning “fine hair” in the Minahasan dialect. Recent reports have uncovered that the Balinese people are brutally killing dogs and serving them to unsuspecting tourists. Bali law states that eating dog meat is legal but selling it to tourists under a false name, is not.
These poor creatures are caught, muzzled, shot, poisoned and butchered on a daily basis. Wired snares are set to capture these dogs and others are even forced to eat poison pellets.
Contaminated meat sold on the streets
Both street vendors and restaurants have been caught misleading tourists by telling them a dish is chicken whilst it is dog meat. Most tourists will not think to question the salesman since you are a visitor in their country and are looking forward to a relaxing holiday. One tends to let your guard down when on vacation with the family but do not be fooled. If a street vendor says that for only $1, you can enjoy the finest chicken satay in all of Bali, best decline the offer politely. It is not a good idea to support traders who engage in this brutal trade. You may be aiding this distressing situation. What’s worse is that the meat may be contaminated! With no track record of regular vaccinations or history of diseases, it is extremely risky to consume this meat.
The belief exists in Bali that by eating dog meat, one will become more masculine and it will make you healthier and strengthen your immune system during the flu-season. Others kill dogs in order to make a living by selling the meat. Some patrol popular beaches to sell their product. Dog meat is regarded as a delicacy and is best served with a cold beer.
Know the difference
How will you know if the dish in front of you is, in fact, chicken satay or dog meat? Apparently, dog meat is fatty, extremely tender and includes a lot of small bones in the meat. It tastes like game and is quite flavourful and tangy. It can be served either as a stew or on skewers and is cooked with chilli and garlic.
Bali Heritage Dog
One organization is going out of its way to save Bali’s indigenous dog. BAWA, the Bali Animal Welfare Association has various programs aimed at achieving sustainable improvements in animal welfare with special emphasis on the Bali Heritage Dog. This is a rare genetic dog species whose survival is currently being threatened by threats such as rabies, dog meat trading, and cross-breeding to name a few. According to BAWA Founder and CEO Janice Girardi, the Bali Heritage Dog who is historically significant to the country, only make up 20% of the population of 400,000 dogs. This dog species is unique when referring to its rare genetic structure and how it can contribute to the study of dog evolution.
Hair raising statistics
On their website, BAWA states that nearly 100,000 dogs are captured and slaughtered to supply the dog meat industry in Bali. Other equally shocking statistics released by BAWA revealed that 70% of these dogs are butchered alive. These and other BAWA statistics are truly shocking:
- 100% of captured dogs are brutally killed
- 25% are poisoned
- 1% are shot with air rifles
Do not be fooled
With a budding tourism market of more than 3.8 million visitors annually, locals will try to cash in on this lucrative market. Tourists are tricked into eating dog meat so that these people can make a living and provide for their families.
It is reported that about 70 restaurants in Bali are selling dog meat to tourists by pretending it is chicken satay. This is a trend that should be stopped as soon as possible. Lying and cheating tourists will give beautiful Bali a bad name and will surely influence the number of tourists visiting the country.
Scientists believe that the rapid spread of rabies won’t end unless the dog meat industry does. Rabies is usually contracted by being in contact with an animal or human being that has rabies. If you experience symptoms such as muscle spasms, a headache, high fever and feel confused about where you are etc., seek medical attention urgently since the disease can be fatal. The only way to prevent the contraction of rabies is by getting a vaccine. Stay clear of bats, skunks, dogs, and raccoons since they are carriers of the deadly disease.
In Vietnam, it is reported that 20% of slaughtered dogs had rabies, and this can easily be transferred from the dog to the human during the slaughter. It is alleged that only 10% of those who have rabies, actually survive whilst the remaining 90% tragically die.
Tourists should be educated about the meaning of the sign “RW” by travel agents, tour operators, hotels, and resorts and be given the choice if they want to support the establishment or not. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!
Treat animals with dignity and kindness
Treating animals with care, dignity, and respect is an important part of living a spiritually balanced lifestyle. Whether small or great, all animals form part of God’s creation and they deserve to be treated with love. Humans are the custodians of all animals and this means showing mercy and kindness towards them. This does not only refer to physical cruelty but also mental cruelty, which is equally important.
If eating dog meat is culturally significant, so be it. But treat these dogs humanely, put them down with as little pain as possible, and make it very clear that dog meat is being served. Let’s make it clear to Balinese locals that tourist dollars will not go to those that deceive and treat animals poorly.