Dogs being poisoned with cyanide and fed to unknowing Bali tourists in restaurants - report
Tourists are unknowingly being fed dog meat in Bali, with more than 70 restaurants serving it, an explosive ABC report claims.
Evidence provided to the ABC's 7.30 report claims the dogs are brutally caught and then butchered not far from the beaches on one of Australia and NZ's favourite holiday islands.
Some of the animals are poisoned, which could potentially be fatal to humans, a leading toxicologist told the programme.
Whilst eating dog meat was not illegal in Bali, killing animals cruelly or eating meat contaminated with poison was against the law, Animals Australia's campaign director Lyn White said.
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"The dog-meat trade breaches animal cruelty laws and food safety laws. That is a statement of fact," she told the ABC.
In an investigation led by Animals Australia, 7.30 obtained evidence that dogs are being bludgeoned, strangled or poisoned for human consumption.
"Dog meat is essentially filtering into the tourist food chain," White said.
A Seminyak street vendor at a popular beach admitted to the programme he is selling dog, but this is not what he tells his tourist customers.
It's not just being sold on the beach, specialty restaurants sell dog meat as well.
"Tourists will walk down a street, they'll see a street store selling satay but what they are not realising is the letters RW on the store mean it is dog meat being served," White said.
An undercover Animal Australia investigator - identified as Luke by the ABC 7.30 report - infiltrated the Bali dog trade, saying despite being trained to watch cruel scenes, nothing had prepared him for the brutal catching of dogs in Bali villages.
"I focussed on my camera work but it was gut-wrenching to hear these dogs ... screaming and wailing in terror and sorrow," he said.
The report interviews a Balinese villager who admits to killing thousands of dogs over three decades, while another man, from Denpasar, rides through back streets on his scooter, shooting dogs with a gun.
Other animals are killed using cyanide bait, a method which was a severe health risk for people according to Doctor Andrew Dawson, director of the New South Wales Poisons Information Centre.
"Because you are going to be exposed to a very toxic poison," Dawson said.
"Firstly, cyanide is not going to be destroyed by cooking. So there will be cyanide throughout the dog's body.
"The actual risk depends upon how much poison is in the dog meat."
The clinical toxicologist said concentrations of cyanide in the flesh of the dog commonly used in a satay stick could result in minor symptoms such as "feeling nauseated, diarrhoea, aches in the muscles and shortness of breath".
But there are people in Bali fighting to end the cruel industry.
Influential Hindu spiritual leader Gusti Ngurah Harta told the ABC he was shocked to hear people were eating dog meat.
"It means they forgot their elders' teaching," he said. "We are not allowed to eat dog meat in Bali. This is upsetting," he said.
The Bali Animal Welfare Association is working to protect the island's dogs said the organisation was currently looking after about 150 dogs but had documented 70 restaurants serving dog in Bali.