WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT

A host of Indonesian and international stars have teamed up for a new video urging Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo to shut down the country’s inhumane and filthy live animal markets and put an end to the horrific dog and cat meat trade.

The Dog Meat Free Indonesia video features some of the country’s biggest celebrities, such as Chelsea Islan, Andovi da Lopez and Sarah Sechan, as well as international names like Dame Judi Dench, Ricky Gervais, Joanna Lumley and Rick Wakeman.

To coincide with the launch of the video, Dog Meat Free Indonesia presented its second open letter to President Jokowi, expressing serious concerns about the country’s live animal markets and dog and cat meat trades in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Despite the worsening situation of the pandemic globally and throughout Indonesia,” the letter reads, “with all 34 provinces now affected and over 14,000 coronavirus infections and nearly 1,000 deaths nationwide, the sale of wild animals including bats, rats, and reptiles alongside dogs and cats and other domesticated animals in markets throughout the country continues unchallenged.”

If these dangerous markets continue to operate, the world’s risk of another global pandemic is far greater.

“It is essential that governments around the world act to address the source of deadly zoonotic pathogens to ensure they are not the next point of origin for the next pandemic,” said Karin Franken, DMFI founding member and director at Jakarta Animal Aid Network. “Without proactive and stringent measures in place to prevent cruel animal trades and markets that provide the perfect breeding grounds for viruses and bacteria, the question is not whether another pandemic will emerge, but when.

“To date, the only actions taken by authorities in Indonesia are those of Surakarta city who, in a misguided bid to prevent the spread of COVID-19, confiscated hundreds of bats from traders at Depok Market and subsequently burned them alive,” she continued. “Such ignorant and cruel acts must never happen again, and we urge the authorities to take urgent but humane actions to protect human and animal health and welfare.”

Video shot: Dog Meat Free Indonesia