CHI MEAKH, Cambodia — Animal rights activists in Cambodia have gained a small victory in their effort to end the trade in dog meat, convincing a canine slaughterhouse in one village to abandon the business.
Buth Pith and his wife Khath Hach this week shut down the small abattoir they had operated for about seven years after animal protection groups agreed to provide them an alternate living by building a small convenience store for them.
Animal activists are taking the 15 dogs that had been caged at the slaughterhouse to an animal shelter in the capital, Phnom Penh, for rehabilitation, after which they will be offered for adoption, either in Cambodia or abroad.
The closure Wednesday in Chi Meakh village in Kampong Thom province follows a bigger victory in the northwestern province of Siem Reap, a popular tourist destination, which in July outlawed the buying, selling and butchering of dogs for food.
But animal lovers still have a long way to go. Dog is famously part of the cuisine in neighboring Vietnam, while eating dog meat was traditionally shunned in Cambodia, considered by an older generation to bring bad luck. In recent years, however, it has become popular.
An estimated 2 million to 3 million dogs are killed annually in Cambodia for their meat, according a recent report by the groups Four Paws International, based in Austria, and Animal Rescue Cambodia.
*According to Wikipedia: “a market research study in 2019 on the dog meat trade in Cambodia, overall a total of 53.6% of respondents indicated that they have eaten dog meat at some time in their lives (72.4% of males and 34.8% of females).”
*Siem Reap in June banned the dog meat trade in the vicinity of Angkor Wat.