A recent Australian media investigation which reported Bali food vendors are serving unwitting tourists dog meat are just lies designed to smear the popular resort island, a local government official said.
“It is not true that dog meat is sold to tourists, it is only people who want to be provocative and bring down Bali destinations,” I Made Badra, the Head of Badung Regency Tourism Office, told Antara on Monday, July 17.
A report from Australia’s state news agency ABC released in June revealed evidence, provided by animal rights group Animals Australia, which showed a local satay vendor misleading tourists by telling customers the meat was chicken, not dog.
A statement issued by the Bali Bureau of Public Relations to ABC July 4 denied the reports and said it was unable to find “any restaurant selling dog meat.”
“Dog meat is essentially filtering into the tourist food chain,” Animals Australia Campaign Director Lyn White told ABC during the report.
Badra suggested the report had been motivated by players from other tourism spots which compete against Bali.
“Bali is now the world’s best tourist destination and defeats other countries, resulting in competition with a number of countries,” he said.
But, the claims have been taken seriously by other Balinese government agencies who met for a summit last week to outlaw the practice.
The Human and Health Forum in Denpasar saw officers from Bali’s Veterinary Health Office, the Ministry of Agriculture and the Balinese Tourism Board draft recommendations to end the slaughter of dogs.
The impact of the report on Bali tourism is yet to be seen.
“We predict Australian tourists to reach 1.5 million people in 2017. We remain confident and optimistic that Australian tourists visit Badung reach this target,” Badra said.