In February 2021, the Department of Agriculture intercepted a van stuffed with 61 dogs in Siem Reap, Cambodia. The dog meat trade had been banned in Siem Reap since July 2020, but it was the first time Cambodia’s government intercepted a dog transport. All the dogs were crammed into six cages, so FOUR PAWS International took them into their care to help them find forever homes.
Then, weeks later, FOUR PAWS furthered their success in ending the dog meat trade. They helped shut down a key supplier of Cambodia’s dog meat. The horrifying location used to brag about drowning 200 dogs a day.
Cambodia Slaughterhouse Finally Closes
FOUR PAWS learned of this horrific slaughterhouse in 2020. The owner reached out to them, asking for assistance with getting out of the dog meat trade. The facility first opened in 1995, and the owner used to brag about drowning 200 dogs daily. It’s estimated that the facility drowned over a million dogs to provide meat for Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia.
Drowning is one of the least humane options when killing animals for meat. Reports state that the facility lowered dogs in a cage into a pool and didn’t bring them back up until bubbles stopped surfacing. It’s heartbreaking to think that so many dogs went through a long, painful death like that.
“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,” said Dr. Katherine Polak, a veterinarian with FOUR PAWS in Southeast Asia. “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.”
FOUR PAWS rescued the remaining 16 dogs in the facility, which added up to 77, counting the dogs in the transport van. The dogs arrived at the organization’s partners, where they prepared for adoption. The horrific facility has since been shut down.
Ending the Dog Meat Trade for Good
The former owner of the slaughterhouse has agreed that he will never be involved in the dog meat trade again. He made the promise official in a contract. Instead, the facility will be converted into a general goods shop and a construction business. However, just because one slaughterhouse is gone doesn’t mean the problem is solved.
In Cambodia alone, about three million dogs are killed for meat annually. Many of those innocent dogs are stolen family pets. Not only is the animal meat trade hazardous to the animals involved, but it’s also a threat to the public.
“The current COVID-19 pandemic has shown the risks associated with the live animal trade. Rabies and cholera are just two of the diseases that have been directly linked with the dog and cat meat trade. Dogs and cats can serve as a significant reservoir for the emergence and spread of zoonotic pathogens. It therefore cannot be ruled out that the next pandemic could originate from the dog and cat meat trade, and now is the time to act to end the trade,” said Dr. Karanvir Kukreja, a vet with FOUR PAWS in Southeast Asia.
Closing one major slaughterhouse is only the beginning. Yet, as long as animal lovers keep standing for what’s right, more dogs can be saved. If you’d like to help, you can donate to FOUR PAWS’ efforts to stop the meat trade.