Dogs and Wild Animals Are Suffering in Sumatran Live Markets

A new Lady Freethinker investigation into dog meat markets and wet markets in Sumatra, Indonesia — covered by Newsweek — exposes rampant cruelty to dogs, turtles, birds, and other animals, who are killed needlessly and violently for food. 

Footage Reveals Widespread Cruelty

 Investigative footage reveals widespread abuse to dogs — who are often people’s companion animals indiscriminately rounded up from the streets, put in sacks with their mouths strapped shut—and to turtles, fish, and others, whose bodies are dismembered and sold.

lft investigates

Cruel, Squalid Markets Must Close for Good​

Video footage obtained from multiple animal markets in Sumatra in June, 2022 reveals dogs stuffed into small sacks with their mouths strapped shut, and others chained inside metal crates waiting to be killed. Bats, birds, and a chicken were seen crammed in metal cages stacked on top of one another, and a live lizard who had her mouth tied shut and legs tied together was sold alongside turtles whose bodies had been hacked apart. At exotic pet markets, birds, bats, monkeys, cats, and more were seen kept in tiny,  filthy cages.  Not only is this cruel, but these markets are cesspools of filth and could breed the next pandemic.

Dogs Mouth Strapped Shut
dog in cage
Dog looking at puppy
Dogs in cages
Dogs Illegally Sold for Meat

Medan mayor announces dog meat ban, but is that enough?

During the investigation, the mayor of Medan—North Sumatra’s capital and largest city—circulated a letter banning  the dog meat trade. This is a huge step in the right direction, but it won’t stop the industry. Our investigator still witnessed widespread cruelty to dogs throughout the city, including dogs stuffed in sacks and stacked on top of one another in transport, and dogs who were killed by having their throats slit and then torched to have their fur removed.

Filthy Markets Must Be Shut Down

Cruel Markets Risk Public Health

Some people who eat dogs claim to consume them to “prevent” Dengue fever and Covid-19, saying dog meat will “fight fatigue and make them stronger.” In reality, cramming sick and stressed dogs (or any animal) into small cages and killing them in blood-soaked meat markets creates the perfect breeding grounds for new disease, and could create the next pandemic.  


As long as these cruel and filthy markets continue to operate, countless dogs, turtles, bats, lizards, birds, and others will continue to suffer in cramped, disease-ridden conditions before being violently killed, and public health will remain at risk. It’s crucial that live markets be shut down immediately in Indonesia and around the world. Please join LFT in urging the Sumatran government to shut down all live markets and ban the dog meat trade statewide! 


Special thanks to photographer Aaron Gekoski, videographer Marie Lozano, and Sumatran NGO Toba Animal Friends


turtles in market
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Puppy tied up
dogs in transport
Monitor lizard
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