Dog meat – the myths and health risks of this cruel practice

Dog meat – the myths and health risks of this cruel practice

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Dog meat – the myths and health risks of this cruel practice

Did you know that in Cambodia every year still around 3 million dogs are brutally slaughtered for their meat? Common myths include that dog meat is healthy, in particular for pregnant women and that it makes the consumer more manly.

Besides the fact that dog slaughterhouses are illegal and that dogs are killed most cruelly; dog meat actually can make you very sick. For example, the dog meat trade allows rabies to spread more easily. And there is no scientific or other evidence for any health or other benefits.

Together with our partner FOUR PAWS, Animal Rescue Cambodia is taking a stand. We created the first report ever on the Dog Meat Trade in Cambodia 2019. And now, we would like to share with you the key findings of the investigations, which focused on Siem Reap province.

If you want to find out even more, read the full Dog Meat Trade Report 2019 in English here, as well as the report in Khmer language here.

1. Siem Reap – Dog Meat “Hot Spot”

If you think of Siem Reap, immediately the astonishing temples of Angkor Wat, UNESCO World Cultural Heritage, come to mind. It is a beautiful city and province, with lots of history, wonderful nature and lovely people.

But there is a darker side to Siem Reap. Did you know that in Siem Reap alone there are around 20 dog meat restaurants, serving 4-6 dogs as “special meat” per day? This is an estimated 2,900 dogs per month or almost 35,000 dogs per year! Can you imagine that? It’s simply heartbreaking.

As long as the dog meat trade in Cambodia continues, this causes potential damage to international tourism and reputation. Fortunately, more and more locals are aware of the situation and continue to tackle this issue together with local and international NGO support.

2. The Myths

There are several misconceptions and untruths about dog meat (and cat meat) in Cambodia. These common myths are WRONG:

  • Dog meat cures diseases and aids recovery
  • It is healthier than other meat, because it contains no antibiotics
  • Dog meat warms the body
  • It is particularly good for pregnant women and women who just gave birth
  • Dog meat makes you more manly

There is no scientific or other evidence for any of these tales.

3. The Health Risks

The main health concerns for humans who eat dog meat or cat meat are:

  • Rabies: There’s an alarming rate of rabies-infected dogs in restaurants, slaughterhouses, and markets. Dog and cat meat pose huge dangers to those catching, slaughtering, and eating those animals.
  • Other diseases: Dog and cat meat infected with the Trichinella parasite can put the safety of consumers at risk. Cholera is also easily spread through the process of mass transporting and slaughtering dogs for consumption.
  • Poison: One method of catching dogs is to bait them with poison. The poison remains in the dog and can potentially kill the person eating the dog meat.

Stay healthy and don’t eat dog meat. There is no scientific or other evidence for any health or other benefits from this meat.

4. Brutal Slaughter

In order to fulfill the high demand for dog meat in Cambodia, dog catchers collect stray dogs and buy them from dog owners, who have too many dogs or can’t take care of their sick dogs anymore (or are even scared of their sick dogs, when they have rabies).

The dogs are collected and transported in tiny cages to dog slaughterhouses or dog meat restaurants. They are often kept without water and food and some dogs don’t survive the transport. They die from suffocation, dehydration, and injury.

These poor souls, which survive, are murdered most cruelly, causing pain and suffering. They are fighting for their lives for up to 30 minutes before they finally die.

Typical killing practices are

  • death by clubbing on the head
  • mass drowning
  • strangling

That sounds horrible, doesn’t it? And worst of all, it’s not even legal.

5. Illegal Practice

Now we have learned that dogs are killed brutally for their meat, that their meat has no special powers or benefits, and that in fact, eating it can actually make people very sick.

But did you know that besides that, dog slaughterhouses are not even legal? They cannot be licensed and often fail to meet basic hygiene standards.

Furthermore, the dog meat trade also violates the Cambodian Law on Animal Health and Production:

  • Chapter 8 – Slaughterhouse and Sanitation
  • Chapter 9 – Movement of Animals and Animal Products
  • Chapter 11 – Animal Welfare
  • Chapter 19 – Inspection

Together, let’s end the dog meat trade in Cambodia!

Taking a Stand

Animal Rescue Cambodia is actively tackling the cruel dog meat trade:

  • In November 2018, we started our official partnership with CMAC (Cambodian Mine Action Center) to fight the dog meat trade in Cambodia. Together with H.E. HENG Ratana and his team we have developed an action plan and are since taking steps to end the barbaric dog meat trade in Cambodia.
  • And in November 2019, we partnered with Four Paws International, to close down a dog slaughterhouse in Phnom Penh, where 2,000 dogs were brutally murdered every year. We are excited about this positive result and happy to contribute to preventing a lot of suffering in the future.

Watch this short video by our partner Compassion Sans Borders to get a better impression.

What YOU can do

You may think you are only an individual and that you don’t have any power. The opposite is true. Every single one of us can do SOMETHING to help to end the brutal dog meat trade in Cambodia and improve animal welfare.

  • Share this knowledge with your friends & family
  • Don’t buy & eat dog meat or cat meat
  • Support animal welfare through volunteering, donations, and awareness-raising
  • Spay & neuter your pet dogs to prevent unwanted puppies

If you still want to read more, we previously wrote about an inside story of a Cambodian dog meat restaurant and a dog meat seller, who switched to serving a vegan menu.

Thank you for your interest and support!

PS: We understand that this information and the images may be uncomfortable and disturbing. We feel exactly the same. If we want to stop this, we have to stop the dog meat trade!

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