March 4, 2021 – The Cambodian dog meat trade has received another blow: A dog slaughterhouse in Skun Province, estimated to have killed over one million dogs since it opened, was closed by FOUR PAWS today. The global animal welfare organization also rescued all 16 dogs onsite, dismantled cages and demolished the ‘drowning tanks’.
The slaughterhouse was considered a key supplier of dog meat in the region. Since opening the facility in 1995, the owner claimed to have drowned up to 200 dogs per day and supplied raw meat to dog meat restaurants in and around Cambodia's capital city, Phnom Penh. FOUR PAWS took the rescued dogs to their local partner and is now preparing them for adoption.
In Cambodia, an estimated three million dogs, many of which are stolen pets, are killed for their meat every year. FOUR PAWS warns not only of rampant animal cruelty, but also of the risks to public health. As part of its investigations into the dog and cat meat trade in Southeast Asia, FOUR PAWS has discovered several high-volume slaughterhouses and hundreds of dog meat restaurants across Cambodia, most of them located in Phnom Penh. FOUR PAWS became aware of this particular slaughterhouse in the city of Skun last year and was able to rescue only a few animals at that time. More recently, the local team has visited with the owner several times after he eventually reached out for assistance to get out of the trade.
"The slaughterhouse was by far one of the most shocking facilities our team had ever visited. When we discovered the two elevated, cement water tanks, it was immediately clear to us that this slaughterhouse was designed for mass killing. Over the past 25 years, more than one million dogs have been drowned at the facility. The practice of drowning dogs causes immense pain and suffering and fails to conform to any international standards of humane euthanasia. The 16 dogs we found on-site were the last survivors of this horrific, antiquated practice, that has no place in modern society,”
-Dr. Katherine Polak, veterinarian and former Head of FOUR PAWS Stray Animal Care in Southeast Asia.
The former owner of the slaughterhouse has contractually assured FOUR PAWS and the local government that he will never again be involved in the dog meat trade. FOUR PAWS is facilitating his livelihood conversion from slaughterhouse to a general goods shop and construction business.
It was a busy week for FOUR PAWS. These 16 rescued dogs join the 61 dogs FOUR PAWS took into its care on February 21. The Siem Reap Provincial Department of Agriculture found the animals crammed into six small cages in a minibus traveling through the province, en route to slaughterhouses hours away. Although the trade in dog meat has officially been banned in Siem Reap since July 2020, it was the first time that dogs had been confiscated by the government in Cambodia. Together with its local partners Animal Rescue Cambodia in Phnom Penh and Paw Patrol Cambodia in Siem Reap, FOUR PAWS is providing medical care and preparing the 77 dogs for adoption.
To put a sustainable end to the dog and cat meat trade in Southeast Asia, FOUR PAWS has launched a campaign on an international and national level in Cambodia, Vietnam, and Indonesia. Over one million people worldwide have already signed the petition to end the cruel trade. Through educational work and cooperation with the responsible authorities and tourism associations, the aim is to persuade governments to introduce strict animal welfare laws banning the brutal trade.
In addition, FOUR PAWS supports local animal welfare organizations and communities with humane and sustainable dog and cat population management programs. FOUR PAWS is also part of the animal welfare coalitions DMFI (Dog Meat Free Indonesia) and ACPA (Asia Canine Protection Alliance), which lobby against the trade in Southeast Asia.
FOUR PAWS is the global animal welfare organization for animals under direct human influence, which reveals suffering, rescues animals in need, and protects them. Founded in 1988 in Vienna by Heli Dungler and friends, the organization advocates for a world where humans treat animals with respect, empathy, and understanding. FOUR PAWS’ sustainable campaigns and projects focus on companion animals including stray dogs and cats, farm animals and wild animals – such as bears, big cats, and orangutans – kept in inappropriate conditions as well as in disaster and conflict zones. With offices in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Kosovo, the Netherlands, Switzerland, South Africa, Thailand, Ukraine, the UK, the USA and Vietnam, as well as sanctuaries for rescued animals in eleven countries, FOUR PAWS provides rapid help and long-term solutions. www.fourpawsusa.org