Animal Law in Indonesia

November 1, 2020Lu Shegay


Animals in Indonesia are defined as “all matter relating to animal physical and mental conditions” by Article 1(42) of Law No. 18. Article 66 of the same Law requires to take measures in the interest of animals related to catching and handling, placement and multiplication, care, transportation, slaughter and killing, and reasonable treatment and tender care. The Law applies to all vertebrates and to some animals who have no backbone and can feel pain. The Penal Code of Indonesia (Article 303) provides penalties for committing any act of animal cruelty diving it into light maltreatment of animals and causing serious harm, death, or illness of over a week.

Companion animals

Law No. 18 is applicable to companion animals in Indonesia. Article 66(2) of the Law states that animals shall be free from pain, fear, or pressure during such activities as animal husbandry. Moreover, Article 83(2) of Regulation No. 95 Concerning Public Health and Animal Welfare sets the requirement that animals have freedom from hunger and thirst, from pain, injury and disease, from discomfort, persecution and abuse, from fear and distress, and to express their natural behavior. These freedoms are to be applied in such activities as transportation, caging, maintenance, protection of animals, etc. Articles 87 and 88 provide that during caging and housing, animals shall not be hurt or be led to stress, that they shall have adequate food and drink corresponding to their physiological needs. In 2009, Bali issued a by-law requiring all pet owners to keep their dogs at home and vaccinate them on a regular basis.

Farmed animals

Indonesia takes the activity of livestock farming seriously to prevent the outbreak of various diseases. For instance, in the country, it is required to obtain a license to open a slaughterhouse and other activities. Article 19 of Law 18 states that any person who rears animals must ensure that their animals are sufficiently fed and that the conditions meet animals’ health. The Law also requires farmers, husbandry companies engaged in the business of rearing animals to have a special permit to operate certain activities and to comply with the “good culture procedure of rearing animals” without violating any public orders according to the guidance issued by the Minister.

With regard to transportation and slaughtering animals, the law stipulates that those conducts shall be properly performed so animals are free from fear, torture, and pressure. The rule of slaughtering animals is exempt from religious groups and the protection of animals during slaughter is limited (Article 61). Same Article provides that the process of slaughter must meet the requirements set by the norms of health practices by veterinarians and the welfare of animals. If an animal suffers from an incurable disease, Article 47(3) and (6) of Law 18 requires to conduct euthanasia by veterinarian or animal health force under veterinarian supervision.

Animals used in scientific research

Since Law 18 provides that animals should be free from pain, fear, or pressure, this Law applies to animals used in experiments and scientific research. Specifically, Article 82 of the Law states that animal welfare must be considered during genetic engineering research, but other types of animal research are not mentioned. Article 74(1) suggests applying the medical science of comparison on animals to improve the utilization of laboratory animals and animals used in research. Moreover, Article 97 says that methods that do not hurt animals or lead to stress shall be prioritized. Animals used in testing for cosmetic products is not regulated within the country.

Animals in entertainment

Although five freedoms enshrined in Law No. 18 and consideration of animals’ interest are applied to this category of animals, there are no additional provisions with regard to animals used in entertainment and draught animals. Moreover, the existing legislation does not apply to dogfighting events, which are widespread within the country. While cruelty to animals is prohibited under the law in Indonesia, dogfighting is not regulated yet.

The operation of zoos is regulated in Indonesia by the Instruction of the Minister of Home Affairs No. 35 on the Cultivation and Management of Flora and Fauna Gardens in Local Regions and Decision Letter of the Minister of Forestry and Estate Crops No. 479 concerning Conservation Bodies Plants and Wildlife. These instruments provide the requirements for the licensing procedures, rights and obligations of zoos. It is illegal to privately keep some species of wild animals, such as the orangutan, Sumatran tigers, many species of birds, and endangered species.

Wild animals

Article 9(3) of Law No. 18 provides that the exploitation of genetic resources of wild animals shall correspond to the regulations of law concerning the conservation of natural resources and the ecosystem. Moreover, Article 73(2) states that the process of reproduction, medication, conservation medication, and forensic veterinary medicine related to wild animals shall meet the regulations respectively. The Government has a right to allow raising wild animals as livestock if their population is stable.

Regulation No. 95, Law No. 18, Act No. 5 also regulate the trade of wildlife products and provide the protection of endangered species of animals. With that being said, Article 21 of Act No. 5 prohibits catching, injuring, killing, possessing, caring for, transportation, and trade of protection animals and their parts. However, Article 36 allows the utilization of wild animals, including for the purposes of marketing, exhibition, hunting, breeding, etc.

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