Content warning: This article mentions graphic descriptions of animals being killed.
Known for facilitating one of the worst examples of animal cruelty imaginable, the Tomohon "Extreme" Market has ended a brutal practice. Humane Society International (HSI) shared a press release with Green Matters announcing that Indonesia's Tomohon Market is ending the trafficking, slaughter, and sale of dogs and cats. Along with the end of this horrific trade, over two dozen animals in captivity were rescued.
The historic agreement took place in July 2023, with the mayor of Tomohon also signing a law banning all future dog and cat trading at the Tomohon Extreme Market, The Los Angeles Times reported. Here's more about why this happened.
What is the Tomohon Extreme Market?
Also called a "traditional" market, the Tomohon Market is known for being extreme — and that term is a severe understatement. As Digital Journal noted, the Tomohon Extreme Market sold canine and feline meat, along with meat of other animals like bats, rats, and snakes. We won't show you images of how these animals were slaughtered, but it was a gruesome practice.
According to HSI, the dog meat trade was "rampant" on the island of Sulawesi, Indonesia. Investigations indicate about 130,000 dogs went to slaughter at these markets every year, with tourist websites even promoting Tomohon's market as a destination — until protests thankfully put an end to that.
HSI has been investigating the Tomohon Extreme Market for years, with its first expose published in 2017, revealing how workers bludgeoned and beat dogs to death prior to their sale.
The Tomohon Extreme Market market has banned the slaughter and sale of cats and dogs for meat.
Kitty Block, CEO of Humane Society International and president of the Humane Society of the United States, announced Tomohon Extreme Market's ban on slaughtering dogs and cats in a blog post.
"After years of campaigning and supporters making their voices heard, the mayor of Tomohon issued an order to end all sale and slaughter of dogs and cats and the selling of dog and cat meat at the market," Block wrote.
Although many told HSI change was not possible, the organization persevered.
According to The Los Angeles Times, the regional secretary of the city of Tomohon, Edwin Roring, announced the ban on slaughter and trade of dogs and cats. “We believe the way to reduce people’s interest in consuming dog and cat meat in Tomohon is to stop selling it in markets,” he stated.
Animal rights advocates applauded the news.
In her blog post, Block noted that HSI has helped to end the cat and dog meat trade in 22 jurisdictions in Indonesia.
"Our work is far from over in the nations where these trades still flourish," Block wrote. "But bringing down the curtain on cruelty at Tomohon Extreme Market is a big victory and a crucial precedent that will propel our fight forward, and we promise you, we’ll see that fight to the finish."
A representative for HSI said in an email to Green Matters that in total, the organization rescued 25 dogs and three cats from Tomohon, although three of the dogs unfortunately died after their rescue. The remaining animals are receiving loving care at a sanctuary in the province.
In 2018, a number of celebrities signed a letter to President Joko Widodo pleading for closure of these markets in Indonesia, said The Los Angeles Times. The list of over 90 prominent figures included Cameron Diaz, Ellen DeGeneres, Simon Cowell, Ricky Gervais, and Moby. This letter urged Indonesia to join other Asian nations in banning the cat and dog meat trade. Thankfully, the mayor of Tomohon has taken a big step toward ending this cruel animal treatment.