Victory! The First Province In Cambodia, Siem Reap, Bans The Barbaric Dog Meat Trade Saving The Lives Of 7,000 Dogs Per Month
One of Southeast Asia’s most iconic tourist attractions is making major strides to protect millions of dogs throughout the country. After FOUR PAWS revealed the suffering of an estimated three million dogs that are slaughtered for their meat in Cambodia each year, the Siem Reap Provincial Department of Agriculture, Forestries and Fisheries published a letter on July 6th banning the slaughter and trade of dogs for their meat in the province.
FOUR PAWS has been working closely with the Cambodian government since 2018, advocating for a ban on dog meat due to the extreme animal cruelty involved and public health risk, largely due to rabies and the spread of zoonotic diseases. The recent developments are seen as a crucial turning point for animal welfare in the region.
Through nationwide investigations, FOUR PAWS identified Siem Reap province as a key hot spot in the country’s dog meat trade, responsible for the large-scale sourcing and trafficking of dogs to supply the demand for dog meat in the Eastern part of the country, most notably Cambodia’s capital Phnom Penh.
The province’s dog meat trade is of considerable magnitude, killing upwards of 7,000 dogs per month. Until recently, the brutal trade has continued unabated despite consumption being a controversial practice. Less than 12% of Cambodians regularly consume dog meat, according to a FOUR PAWS market research study.
“The historic decision by the Siem Reap government to ban the stealing, trading, and killing of dogs is a huge milestone for animal welfare in Cambodia and is reflective of current sentiment among Khmer people,” Dr. Katherine Polak, veterinarian and Head of FOUR PAWS Stray Animal Care in Southeast Asia, said in a statement.
During FOUR PAWS’ investigations, a total of 21 restaurants serving an estimated 2,900 dogs per month were visited in the Siem Reap city area alone; several of them located close to the world-famous temple complex Angkor Wat.
One dog slaughterhouse and five high-volume holding and trading areas were also located in the province, used to hold dogs prior to being transported to slaughter. Specialized minivans equipped with cages are used to regularly transport at least 3,750 live dogs per month out of Siem Reap to slaughterhouses in Kampong Cham, Kampong Thom, and Skun. Here, the dogs are brutally killed, stripped of their fur, and sold by wholesalers to the more than 100 dog meat restaurants in Phnom Penh.
In Cambodia, FOUR PAWS has partnered with local charity Animal Rescue Cambodia to improve companion animal welfare, as well as with the Cambodian Mine Action Centre, a Cambodian government department, to end the dog meat trade.
To put a sustainable end to the brutal dog meat trade in Southeast Asia, FOUR PAWS has launched a campaign on an international and national level in Cambodia, Indonesia, and Vietnam.
“Through educational work and cooperation with the responsible authorities, local communities, and the tourism industry, the goal of FOUR PAWS is for Governments in Southeast Asia to introduce, strengthen, and enforce animal protection laws, which will bring an end to the capture, slaughter, and consumption of dogs and cats. This will not only protect animals – but people as well from public health risks,” stated Dr. Karanvir Kukreja, veterinarian and Project Manager for FOUR PAWS’ Ending the Dog and Cat Meat Trade Campaign.
FOUR PAWS also supports local animal welfare organizations and communities with humane and sustainable stray animal care programs. They are also a part of the animal welfare coalitions Dog Meat Free Indonesia and Asia Canine Protection Alliance, which lobby against the trade in Southeast Asia, as well as the Asia for Animals Coalition, which works to improve the welfare of animals across Asia.
Support to END this cruel trade has gained global traction through a petition by FOUR PAWS that has received over 800,000 signatures since it launched late last year.
Please help support this critical campaign by signing the petition HERE!