Incredible moment 53 dogs rescued from back of truck

  • Dogs were hours away from being slaughtered for food

  • An estimated 1 millions dogs killed annually in Indonesia

  • Rabies infection a major risk in dog meat consumption

Incredible footage captures the moment 53 dogs were rescued from the back of a truck in Indonesia.

Rescuers reported hearing the dogs whimpering inside as they approached the vehicle.

Inside, the animals were caged in hessian sacks, and according to reports some had their muzzles fastened shut with string, cable ties and wire.

Dogs in sacks stare at the camera from the back of the truck they were rescued from.
This is the moment 53 dogs were rescued from the back of a truck. Source: HSI

In the video, supplied by Humane Society International (HSI), one dog can be seen toppling over amid the commotion, before it rights itself and stares at the rescuers.

An animal welfare advocate who attended the scene told Yahoo News the dogs were drenched in their own faeces and urine.

Police intercepted the vehicle on Indonesia’s main island Java early on Wednesday morning in a sting operation targeting the dog meat industry.

One arrest was made during the raid, which followed police infiltration of an alleged canine trafficking operation.

Police investigator Tarjono Sapto Nugroho revealed the operation was initiated after they received complaints from concerned locals about the trade.

"People do not want this trade or slaughter in their communities,” he said.

"Dogs are friends, not food, and the trade is already illegal and is strictly prohibited by Islamic law."

Pet dogs were hours away from being slaughtered

Lola Webber from HSI said many of the dogs were still wearing collars, leading her to believe some could have been stolen pets.

As slaughter usually happens early in the morning, she believes the tired dogs were rescued “in the nick of time”.

“They will have endured the most horrific and terrifying journey, thrown in the back of a truck to be taken to this disgusting and filthy slaughterhouse where they would have been bludgeoned over the head and their throats cut,” she said.

“To think of the fear they must have endured is just devastating.”

HSI, who have been campaigning as part of the Dog Meat Free Coalition to end the trade across Indonesia, say they hope the raid signals a turning point.

Wednesday’s action is now the second major dog meat raid undertaken by Indonesian police.

In October, a man was sentenced to 10 months in jail and given a 150 million IDR ($14,500) fine, after police in West Java intercepted a truck carrying 78 dogs destined for human consumption.

Dog meat forbidden for Muslim population

Indonesia is made up of more than 17,500 islands and is home to more than 1300 ethnic groups, some of whom say they consume dog as part of tradition.

Unsubstantiated beliefs continue in Indonesia that dog meat has medicinal properties and it is estimated around 1 million dogs are slaughtered in the country each year.

Despite having a multicultural population, Indonesia is a majority Muslim nation and dog meat, like pork, is forbidden under religious law.

Two images of the emaciated dogs after they were rescued.
A number of the dogs were found to be underweight. Source: HSI

While it hasn't been outlawed across the entire country, canine consumption has been explicitly banned in jurisdictions including Karanganyar and Salatiga as well as Sukoharjo where the raid took place.

Authorities appear to be cracking down on the practice for a number of reasons, with advocates raising concerns about the industry impacting both dog and humans.

Rabies infection a major risk in dog meat consumption

There are serious animal welfare concerns associated with the unregulated canine slaughterhouses.

In her years working to protect dogs, Ms Webber told Yahoo News she's seen animals bludgeoned, blowtorched while still alive and witnessed their bodies stuck fast to the frozen bars of their metal cages.

Rabies is often cited as a major risk for those eating dog meat as it is a zoonotic disease commonly found in dogs across Asia.

Annual figures indicate Indonesia has a yearly average of over 80,000 bites from infected animals and 105 human deaths linked to the disease.

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