Chris Pleasance – Shocking video footage and images have emerged showing the grim conditions inside an Indonesian slaughterhouse where dogs are butchered for humans to eat.
Canines arrive on trucks at the meat factory in the city of Surakarta, known as Solo, and are bound up in sacks before being thrown into filthy cages to await their fates.
Workers then pummel the animals over the head with large pieces of wood, string them up and slit their throats – with some of them still conscious.
This grisly spectacle occurs in front of other dogs who are forced to watch, knowing that they are next in line.
The images and video was captured by campaign group Dog Meat-Free Indonesia, which urged the government to follow up on its pledge to stamp out the trade.
Lola Webber, Change For Animals Foundation, said: 'Dogs are captured from the streets and stolen from people's homes to be taken on long journeys – often lasting for days – tightly packed in pick-up trucks or in hessian sacks, their mouths bound shut so they can hardly breathe.
'They are then taken to filthy slaughterhouses where they watch others being slaughtered as they wait their turn, trembling in fear. The look in their eyes is haunting, the blood-spattered walls unforgettable.'
Activist's latest investigations and report reveal that an estimated 13,700 dogs of unknown disease and vaccination status continue to be captured and stolen each month from the streets of cities throughout Java – Indonesia's most populous island.
West Java acts as a 'supply hub' for the region, importing dogs into Solo's densely-populated city centre. Here, the dogs are slaughtered and sold in one of the city's 82 restaurants openly advertising the meat.
In Surakatra alone, it is thought 1,200 dogs are slaughtered daily for their meat, though official statistics on the trade are hard to come by.
Indonesia is the world's most populous Muslim nation, which considers dog meat haram – or forbidden – and therefore most Indonesians do not eat it.
However, among some minority groups the dish remains popular and is often linked to festivities or family celebrations such as weddings and baptisms.
As in many other parts of Asia, dog meat is also consumed for perceived health properties such as curing skin problems, dengue fever and asthma, as a general boost for the immune system, or improving male stamina.
Indonesia has strict laws relating to the sale of dog meat – banning animals from being brought in from outside the state in which they are sold.
Animals are also supposed to be fully vaccinated against diseases like rabies and sourced from reliable farms.
However, campaigners say such rules are seldom enforced and believe up to 90 per cent of dogs killed for their meat are stolen from owners or off the streets.
The Indonesian government pledged to fully eradicate the trade in 2018, but markets and restaurants selling dog meat continue to operate openly.
Dr. Katherine Polak, of the FOUR PAWS group, added: 'We know that rabies control and elimination efforts are futile without addressing the dog meat trade which is the only trade known to encourage the mass unregulated movement of dogs of unknown disease and vaccination status.
'This facilitates the spread of the disease and disrupts any attempts to reach the required canine vaccination coverage required to ultimately eliminate the disease from the dog population.
'Pledges for action have been made from the Central government's Ministry of Agriculture. DMFI and the millions of supporters we represent worldwide applaud this position.
'But these words need to result in commitments for change through strong and impactful actions.
'For now, the illegal trades continue, threatening the health and safety of millions of Indonesians, and resulting in the suffering of thousands of animals each day.'