Brutal dog fights pitching ferocious dogs against deadly wild boar in front of cheering crowds are feeling the weight of the law.
Shocked officials have ordered a crackdown on the bloody spectacles after the scenes caused global outrage.
The readers condemned the shocking cruelty when horrific pictures emerged showing how the powerful dogs clashed with huge wild pigs in the modern day equivalent of a medieval bear pit, with children looking on from among the packed crowds.
The fights – known as “adu bagong” – were staged in Indonesia’s West Java province under the pretense of being a cultural tradition.
Yet dog breeders and fighters have been making lucrative sums, with cash prizes of up to £1,500 for winning owners, while even great riches were on offer for those producing champion dogs.
Although the battles fought out on the floor of a bamboo-built arena appear to be evenly matched, with a wily boar capable of ripping open a dog’s belly with its razor-sharp tusks, in truth, they were terribly one-sided.
Fights were halted when an animal faltered on the blood-stained mud. For dogs this meant time to have wounds treated and limbs rested. Boar were pitched back into the ring once more, or slaughtered for their meat.
When graphic pictures began to circulate last month, animal welfare groups called on the Indonesian authorities to stop the carnage. The authorities have responded and halted the fights.
Ade Sukalsah, a spokesman for provincial governor Ahmad Heryawan, said: “Not all traditions that we have are good.”
“If a tradition has a bad influence and impact on people’s lives, the tradition must be eliminated or forgotten.”
“The shows have a negative impact on the community by showing cruelty, torture and violence against animals.”
The authorities have issued a circular to regional officials, urging police and local communities to help enforce the law. There is also criticism of the fights as they are seen as a forum for gambling.
Sukalsah explained the decision to ban the fight was a response to media reports and complaints from animal protection groups.
When pictures of the dogs and boar locked in combat surfaced last month, animal activists called for immediate government action.
Indonesian animal rights activist Marison Guciano said: “It is a criminal act against animals.”
“The government and non-government organisations should go to the field to stop this event and educate the people that dog fighting is not right.”
Participants defended the violence and cruelty, saying the fights were a way of preserving the region’s tradition of hunting; dating back to the 1960s when wild pig numbers were soaring. They also said the fights tested the agility and hunting skills of their animals.
Nur Hadi, head of Hiparu, a group of hunting dog enthusiasts that takes part in the fights, said: “It used to be very simple, not like now when the dogs are trained.”
“From there it’s been handed down and has even become part of tradition and culture.”
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