Investigation reveals the cruel reality of 'meat' in Bali

Hidden far from the beautiful beaches and rolling green fields of this island paradise, animals are killed for 'meat' in some of the most awful ways imaginable — and tourism is fueling this suffering. Here's how you can help Bali's animals.


PUBLISHED ON: 19 June 2017

Bali has been called the 'Island of Peace' and 'Island of Love'. For many people, including millions of tourists who flock there each year, it can represent just that. Health retreats, yoga, cooking classes and a popular surfing scene thrive alongside vibrant nightlife.

Yet just beyond the gaze of visitors and caring locals lies terrible suffering. An Animals Australia investigation into the Bali dog meat trade has also uncovered the routine horrific slaughter of pigs, cows and chickens. Butchered in filthy conditions, many of these animals end up in restaurants and food stalls frequented by tourists — creating a situation that is not only terrible for animals but dangerous to human health.

Pigs drowned in cages

The slaughter of pigs captured on film in Bali is some of the cruellest treatment our investigators have been forced to witness. Pigs — sensitive, intelligent animals — are confined to steel cages, sometimes for days at a time in filthy urine and faeces-laden water, then finally submerged head-first, thrashing in fear until they drown.

Even in the slaughterhouses where 'stunning' is practiced, our evidence revealed the routine use of makeshift electric stunners, workers giving pigs electric shocks to force them to move — some creating sparks off their skin — and pigs being kicked and hit in the face with bamboo poles. Virtually every instance of the cruelty we documented breaches OIE (World Animal Health Organisation) standards.

A caged pig being tipped face-first into water in a Bali slaughterhouse
In slaughterhouses across Bali, pigs are being drowned in full view of other animals.
I don't even know where to start with this. (The drowning is) highly barbaric and completely unnecessary. I think the average person eating pork or bacon in Bali would be mortified to know this is happening.Animals Australia investigator

Cows hung by one leg & butchered while still alive

Cows sadly fare no better in Bali slaughterhouses. Our investigators captured footage of frightened animals being restrained by ropes for extended periods, 'cast' or tripped to the ground, and repeatedly smashing their heads on concrete as they struggled to regain their footing.

Panicked cows are seen being painfully hoisted up to hang from one leg, and dragged into slaughter position by their eyes, ears, or noses. Throats are sawn open, and wounds held apart...

This cruel slaughter is finished on the ground, with animals butchered on the same contaminated floor area.

A cow in Bali lies on a bloody slaughter floor, with a hind leg roped
Frightened cows in Bali are being brutally killed and cut up on bloody abattoir floors.

Chickens 'bled out' while conscious

The slaughter of chickens is horrific in most places and Bali is no exception. There, gentle hens are routinely subjected to highly stressful and painful 'manual slaughter', where a chicken's head is pinned back by hand and her throat cut without any stunning. Perhaps even more disturbingly, chickens in Bali are then often placed in cages to 'bleed out' while still conscious.

Bleeding chickens lie in a wooden crate, while another is slaughtered in the background
Chickens are thrown into a crate to slowly bleed to death.
Carcasses washed in sewerage

Evidence shows that animal welfare and human hygiene standards are not being enforced in Bali slaughterhouses. Animals are killed, gutted and cut up on dirty floors, with footage from at least one facility revealing eviscerated organs and meat being 'washed' in the sewerage-laden stream which passed beside the killing floor.

Animals are butchered on a dirty tiled floor in Bali
Unsanitary butchering conditions make food poisoning a very real risk in Bali

Bali dog meat investigation - Dogs hung, strangled, clubbed & poisoned

Street dogs and family pets are being captured and cruelly killed to feed the growing Bali dog meat trade. Our investigation uncovered frightened dogs being caught and roughly bound before being clubbed, poisoned or even strangled to death. Not even small puppies are spared.

And our evidence exposes street vendors tricking tourists into eating dog meat 'satays' — not only a shockingly cruel dish but a potentially poisonous one.

Bali dog meat investigation - A dog in Bali is strung up to a tree by the neck
This terrified dog fell victim to Bali's dog meat trade — hung from a tree and butchered for 'meat'.

How to stay safe and help animals

The kindest and safest choice to make while in Bali is to avoid eating meat altogether. And it's easy.

Because tourists can never know if the meat being sold poses serious health risks — or whether it is a product of the cruel Bali dog meat trade — the safest choice to make while in Bali is to avoid eating meat altogether.

Bali has a vibrant vegetarian food scene, with over 100 veg restaurants on the island. What's more, most street or beach vendors will happily cook up vegetable dishes too (like nasi goreng or one of Indonesia's staple dishes, veg nasi campur). Check out the Happy Cow website or mobile app for great places to eat.

Delicious-looking food from The Spicy Coconut, Bali
There's plenty of amazing meat-free food to enjoy in Bali.

One important thing to keep in mind is that wherever we live in the world, every society and every culture has been conditioned to think of sweet, gentle, domesticated animals as nothing more than a food source — be they dogs, cows, pigs or chickens... If we can begin to unravel our own conditioned thinking, there is infinite hope for all animals. And every caring person can play a part.

Here are 6 ways you can help all animals in Bali.


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