Staged fights between dogs and captured wild boars, which is a traditional form of entertainment in rural areas of West Java, must be condemned and stopped, animal activists say.
“The vicious and exploitative fighting of dogs and wild boars in Indonesia is a disturbing spectacle that must be condemned,” Wendy Higgins, a spokesperson for Humane Society International told The Independent.
The fights usually take place inside a 15-30 meter bamboo-walled arena, around which locals would gather and eagerly watch. A dog would be thrown into the arena where a captured wild boar will already be waiting. The two animals would brutally attack each other and the contest will go on until one of the animals is injured or dies.
If the boar survives the fight, it will return to the arena once healed. If not, it will be butchered and sold for meat.
According to some locals, the fights were a way to preserve a tradition of hunting in the area. Wendy, however, has called for it to be “consigned to the history books”.
“Not only is it extreme animal cruelty, but it debases us as humans to promote such barbarity as fun. Any tradition that requires a sentient being to become a victim of violence should be consigned to the history books,” she said.
Another reason the tradition has continued to be preserved is that the fights generate income for not only dog owners, who get the cash prize of up to US $2,000 for winning the contest, but also for dog breeders.
“I take part in this contest to increase the selling price and economic value of my dogs, and it would be useless for me as a breeder if I did not participate in a contest like this,” Mr Badud told Reuters.
The regular spectacle began in the 1960s when wild pig numbers in West Java soared and they were hunted to protect crops.