Video of dogs butchered at Indonesian market sparks outrage

Dogs in a cage waiting to be sold at the Langowan market in north Sulawesi, on Jan 24, 2018. PHOTO: AFP/DOG MEAT FREE INDONESIA

JAKARTA (AFP) - Disturbing video footage of dogs being butchered and their hair burnt off with blowtorches at markets in Indonesia has prompted howls of protest from animal rights activists.

Campaigners from the Dog Meat-Free Indonesia group are urging authorities to shut down the country's live animal markets, where they say thousands of dogs and cats are bludgeoned to death each week.

Video filmed by the activists at markets in Tomohon and Langowan cities on Sulawesi island shows a stomach-churning array of burnt, mutilated animals - including monkeys, cats and bats - being sold openly.

Among the most disturbing images is footage of dogs being clobbered to death and blow-torched in the street amid the rows of grubby stalls.

Dogs packed cheek by jowl inside tiny cages appear to tremble and whimper as they watch what is going on around them.

Lola Webber, from the Dog Meat-Free coalition, described the market as "like walking through hell".

However, that hasn't stopped it becoming a popular tourist destination.

The group is now calling for the Indonesian government to put an end to the brutal trade.

"The tourist board's slogan of a 'Wonderful Indonesia' rings hollow when you've gazed into the eyes of a dog spattered with blood and shaking with fear," Bobby Fernando of Animal Friends Jogja said.

"We need the world to join us in calling for an end to Indonesia's dog and cat meat trade."

The vast majority of Muslim-majority Indonesia does not eat cats and dogs, but the trade in exotic creatures is booming in some parts of the sprawling archipelago where it can form part of the local diet.

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