Indonesia: new film highlights health risks of country’s wet markets

An investigative film produced by Indonesian pressure group Yudisthira – and Ecostorm – examining the health risks posed by the country’s numerous wet ‘poultry’ markets has been presented to the Indonesian government as part of a new public awareness campaign designed to highlight the links between the spread of diseases such as avian influenza and poor farming practices.

The film, created from footage obtained during undercover investigations carried out in Bali and Java, was produced as part of a pilot training programme commissioned by the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) and includes graphic evidence of poor animal welfare conditions and of the associated threats posed to human health.

Indonesian wet markets traditionally sell live animals out in the open. Depending on the region, animals are often caged and killed onsite for preparation. The wet markets have been frequently linked to the country’s ongoing risk from the deadly H5N1 version of avian influenza, which has so far claimed in excess of 100 lives in the country.

During a ten day Ecostorm training programme, Yudisthira campaigners received instruction in operating PD150 broadcast cameras, covert cameras, shooting basic sequences for editing, planning investigations and onsite filming, carrying out on-camera interviews, writing storyboards, and logging footage. Then, in a joint field investigation, the footage and information needed to make an effective campaign film was gathered.

Yudisthira, an active member of the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) -led Asian Coalition for Farm Animals (ACFA), is currently working on a two-part advocacy campaign consisting of an assessment of poultry welfare in the wet markets of Java and an assessment of antibiotic residues in broiler chicken meat sold in the wet markets of Denpasar, Bali.

Ecostorm carried out investigative and broadcast film trainings in four countries during 2007, with three more currently planned for 2008.

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