Under pressure from animal activists, authorities in Indonesia’s West Java province have called a halt to brutal contests pitting dogs against wild boars.
“Not all traditions that we have are good,” Ade Sukalsah, a spokesman for provincial governor Ahmad Heryawan, said Tuesday. “If a tradition has a bad influence and impact on people’s lives, the tradition must be eliminated or forgotten.”
The practice began in the 1960’s, growing out of using dogs to hunt wild pigs.
Called “adu bagong,” or boar fights, by villagers, the events award cash prizes, and betting is rampant.
Owners of participating animals said they saw the fights as a way to preserve a regional tradition and hone the skills of hunting dogs.
Heryawan’s decision to halt the fights was based on Indonesian criminal law provisions against the torture of animals, Reuters reported.
The shows “have a negative impact on the community by showing cruelty, torture and violence against animals,” Sukalsah said.
It’s not clear how hard the government will come down on the practice, but Heryawan issued a circular to regional officials, urging police and the local community to help enforce the law.
Sukalsah said the decision was made in response to “some media reports from Reuters, the BBC and then some animal protection NGOs that sent letters to us.”
(Photo: A dog and wild boar fight during a contest in the Cikawao village of Majalaya, West Java province, Indonesia; by REUTERS/Beawiharta)