Every tourist who goes to Bali needs to know what 'RW' stands for.

In the four months Animals Australia investigator ‘Luke’ (not his real name) spent infiltrating the Balinese dog meat industry, he witnessed acts of cruelty so sickening he struggled not to intervene.

Pets being openly snatched in the street, their mouths taped shut their feet bound before being hauled off for slaughter to satiate the growing demand for dog meat by the Indonesian island’s restaurant industry.

Yet as reported on Monday’s episode of ABC’s 7.30, among the most shocking revelations from the investigation was that this meat was also being sold to unwitting tourists.

The undercover investigator, whom the program did not name for safety reasons, told the ABC he observed foreigners purchasing and consuming meat from street vendors, unaware that the letters ‘RW’ on the stall indicate it comes from dog.

“A group of Aussie tourists enjoyed the dog meat satays so much they went back for seconds,” he said. “Yet had they known the origin of the meat they would have been sickened.”

However, Luke also captured footage of vendors being directly deceptive, and peddling dog meat as chicken.

“Mobile dog meat vendors are trawling popular beaches in Bali selling satays from buckets, deliberately not telling people the origin of the meat and when asked, they lie,” he told the ABC.

bali dog meat sold as chicken
"RW indicates dog meat." Image: ABC.

According to 7.30, some 70,000 Balinese dogs are slaughtered for their meat every year after being purchased or snatched by catchers and then sold on to speciality restaurants.

It's perfectly legal consume the meat in the province, but activists claim the trade is often in breach of animal welfare laws and food safety regulations.

The program's investigation obtained evidence of dogs being held in cages, their feet bound, for up to a week, and observed animals being slaughtered by strangulation, bludgeoning and even cyanide poisoning.