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Global Backlash Aims to Stop Sumatra’s Dog Meat Trade

Global Backlash Aims to Stop Sumatra’s Dog Meat Trade

Dogs in a truck from Sumatra's Dog meat Trade (c)LFT

The animal rights organization Lady Freethinker has released new footage of Sumatra’s dog meat trade in Indonesia, sparking a global backlash

Nina Jackel Lady Freethinker
Nina Jackel Lady Freethinker

Los Angeles, July 14th, 2023 — Nina Jackel, the vegan activist also known as Lady Freethinker who runs an animal rights media organization under the same name, is famous for coalescing a global response to injustice. Now, she’s showing the world the terrible reality of Sumatra’s dog meat trade and mobilizing an international backlash. The footage, obtained by one of her investigators, is far too horrific to be shown here.  Just a few still images have sparked global outrage regarding the infliction of mass cruelty that mirrors the way pigs, cows, chickens and other farmed animals are treated in the United States and Canada. Several petitions are gathering massive amounts of signatures to pressure the decision-makers on this lush Indonesian island to stop the barbaric treatment of dogs. Since Sumatra’s tourism industry is key to its economy, it’s hoped the international pressure will convince authorities that killing dogs for meat is not worth the lost tourism dollars.

UnchainedTV’s Jane Velez-Mitchell interviewed Nina Jackel to find out more about this campaign and to learn about what makes Lady Freethinker tick. You can watch the fascinating conversation here:

What is the Sumatra’s Dog Meat Trade

Dogs on a car being transported to a restaurant of the Dog Meat Trade (c)LFT
Dogs on a car being transported to a restaurant involved in the dog meat trade (c)LFT

Some parts of the world exploit pigs for food, others exploit cows, and still others exploit dogs. The island of Sumatra, the second largest island in Indonesia, is one of the latter. Lady Freethinker decided to investigate the issue first-hand. This is what she said:

“We work with a local organization on the ground there who’s really in the thick of it, in an area in Sumatra where the dog meat trade is especially prevalent. We were able to send an investigator there to gain access to a number of facilities, including a dog meat market and dog meat restaurants. And, we were even able to track a dog transport truck that drives dogs more than 17 hours, with no food and no water, to a restaurant that eventually slaughtered them.”

The footage the investigator obtained shows apparently sick and emaciated dogs with scars being transported for slaughter, getting yanked off a truck with a long snare pole, and then being shoved into burlap sacks that were tied shut.

“Sumatra has already succeeded in some regional bans, but whether they’re being enforced or not is questionable at best.”— Nina Jackel, Lady Freethinker

What can you do to help stop Sumatra’s Dog Meat Trade?

Dogs from Sumatra's Dog Meat Trade (LFT)
Dogs from Sumatra’s Dog Meat Trade (LFT)

Nina Jackel is a global activist and journalist achieving progress for animals through her non-profit media organization, Lady Freethinker, dedicated to exposing and stopping the suffering of animals, humans and the planet. LFT has published thousands of news articles and petitions against animal cruelty, amassing over 20 million petition signatures calling on policymakers to strengthen and enforce laws to protect animals. They have now created some petitions for those who want to help stop Sumatra’s Dog Meat Trade. The most recent one is a petition regarding the specific issue of how the dogs are transported. She explains.


“We are petitioning the Indonesian agriculture quarantine agency because we believe that the transport of these dogs that we witnessed was illegal. There are certain requirements, and these people are violating the health code… we believe that the quarantine agency should do its job in investigating the transport of these trucks, and shutting down any illegal operations.”

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Pig in Nebraska farm (c)MfA

They also have a petition about Sumatra’s wet markets, which sell all sorts of animals for food, including dogs, asking to shut them down. This one already has over 51,000 signatures.

“We’re seeing more and more local citizens speak out against this. We’re seeing more and more laws being passed. But it persists.” — Nina Jackel, Lady Freethinker

Lady Freethinker is Good at Mobilizing People

Lady Freethinker website
Lady Freethinker website

Lady Freethinker has had many successes over the years. It has successfully shuttered a dog fighting kennel in Chile — achieving the highest-ever sentence for animal cruelty in the nation. LFT also shuttered a dog meat auction in South Korea, and raised widespread awareness about the abuses endured by farmed, domestic, and wild animals worldwide.

As a vegan activist, Lady Freethinker is well aware that what happens in Sumatra is not by any means unique to that country. She says the following:

“This type of cruelty happens every day in the United States, in Canada, in every western nation on factory farms. And no species, whether it’s a dog or a pig or a chicken, deserves to suffer in this way. Our particular investigation in Sumatra involves dogs. But these could be any animals anywhere and they would not deserve this suffering.”

“Most people do not eat dogs. It’s a very small minority that do. This is not culturally popular, and many people in these regions are fighting to stop it, just as we are.”— Nina Jackel, Lady Freethinker

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