[Aug. 6, 2020: People]
It's yet another dog meat story with a happy ending.
On August 5, FOUR PAWS, a global animal welfare organization, shut down a dog meat slaughterhouse in the Kampong Thom Province of Cambodia that was critical to the dog meat trade in the country. Along with closing the slaughterhouse, FOUR PAWS rescuers were also able to save the 15 dogs found alive on-site.
This animal rights victory comes shortly after Cambodian province Siem Reap announced a province-wide ban on the sale and consumption of dog meat. Siem Reap is the first Cambodian province to take this step.
Across the country, an estimated 3 million dogs are slaughtered each year for consumption, according to release from FOUR PAWS. The organization hopes that Siem Reap's ban and the organization's continued work to end the dog meat trade will lead to a country-wide ban on dog meat sales and consumption in Cambodia.
The slaughterhouse recently shut down by FOUR PAWSs reportedly killed up to 3,000 dogs each year and served as the largest dog meat supplier in the area. This closure will likely interrupt the dog meat supply to neighboring provinces as well.
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FOUR PAWS did not leave the former slaughterhouse owners without a livelihood. The organization is helping the former owners, who "expressed remorse over killing dogs and desperation to get out of the trade," according to FOUR PAWS, build and supply a small grocery store to ensure the owners have a humane, and sustainable way to support themselves. FOUR PAWS also removed all of the former slaughterhouse's cages and equipment to help with the transition.
The 15 dogs found in the rusty, filthy cages pulled from the slaughterhouse were taken from the facility and brought to FOUR PAWS' local partner charity, Animal Rescue Cambodia. The canines will remain at the rescue, receiving medical care and affection, until they are ready to be adopted into loving homes.
"There is incredible momentum throughout Cambodia to end the dog meat trade and we are relieved to see this facility closed for good. We have not just changed the lives of the dogs rescued, but also the tens of thousands of dogs that will be spared a horrific death for their meat. We have also been able to successfully work with the owner of the facility, who did not want to be involved in the trade any longer. But the work does not just end with the closure. The coming weeks to months will be critical in providing ongoing medical treatment to the rescued dogs, in addition to the love and care required to help them recover from this traumatic experience," Dr. Katherine Polak, Head of FOUR PAWS Stray Animal Care in Southeast Asia and a veterinarian, said in a statement.