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GrabFood joins Indonesia's digital frontline against exotic meats

News Desk

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Fri, February 14, 2020  /  04:04 pm
GrabFood joins Indonesia's digital frontline against exotic meats

A banner advertising "extreme cuisine" hangs above the Hugjos 2 restaurant in Surakarta, Central Java, which serves dishes containing dog meat. (JP/Ganug Nugroho Adi)

Grab Indonesia is the latest digital company to join Tokopedia and Gojek in the effort to eliminate "exotic meats" from its menu, in response to pressure from an animal welfare group amid the ongoing global health emergency.

The company said it had taken the move to protect consumers according to Law No. 8/1999 on consumer protection, Law No. 18/2012 on food and other regulations.

“Also as a mitigation measure with regard to warnings on the dangers of [the spread of] the novel coronavirus in Indonesia,” Grab Indonesia marketing head Hadi Surya Koe said in a written statement on Wednesday, reported. 

Hadi said that aside from concerns over the coronavirus, the company made its decision after meeting on Feb. 7 with Animal Defenders Indonesia, which cemented its commitment to ban dishes that used exotic meats from its online food delivery service. 

Hadi said GrabFood would take proactive measures against those merchants that continued to sell such items through its app, from "deleting the menu to closing the merchant’s GrabFood account, temporarily or permanently”. 

GrabFood has also called on its customers to participate actively in supporting its efforts. Grab customers and driver partners can report any exotic meats they find on the app through a dedicated channel it has set up.

“Please report to us [using] the form provided on our [desktop] site or the Grab application,” Hadi said. 

Read also: Manado supermarkets keep selling bat meat 'paniki' despite coronavirus fears

GrabFood's exotic meats ban applies to the meat of bats, dogs, cats, ferrets, mice, pangolins, sharks, stingrays, crocodiles, lizards, geckos, turtles (including softshell turtles), snakes and scorpions.

The coronavirus disease has been confirmed as a zoonotic disease, and while the virus has not been traced to a particular animal, researchers have suggested that it may have originated in bats or snakes.

Tokopedia and Gojek have already joined the movement to ban exotic meats from their services following their meetings with Animal Defenders Indonesia. The two companies said separately that they would improve their digital filters and implement screening measures. 

The animal welfare group, which has been protesting the online sales of wildlife products since the beginning of this month, visited Tokopedia on Feb. 3 and Gojek on Feb. 5, reported 

“We are pleased to hear that Grab has also been made aware of this matter and is [cooperating] with our campaign to ban dog meat from the menus available on GrabFood,” Animal Defenders Indonesia founder Doni Herdaru Tona said in a written statement on Feb. 7.

Doni also called for the public to participate in the movement, since traders often came up with different names for exotic meats, such as “B1”, “B Sada” or “BI”. 

“Take a screenshot [of the item] and send it to us via [WhatsApp] at 082211438940," said Doni, being sure to provide information on where the item was found. He stressed that the identity of the person making the report would be kept strictly confidential. (ydp) 

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