“I want to quit the business because I am getting old, and a lot of people have criticized me about the dog meat trade,” the 50-year-old Ouk Mol, owner of a dog slaughterhouse in Cambodia, told AFP. “I feel ashamed.”
On Thursday, he closed his business with help from the animal welfare organization Four Paws. The remaining 16 dogs a the slaughterhouse were rescued and brought to a shelter.
Last year, Four Paws visited with the owner several times after he reached out for assistance to get out of the trade.
“The slaughterhouse was by far one of the most shocking facilities our team had ever visited,” Katherine Polak, veterinarian and Head of Four Paws Stray Animal Care in Southeast Asia, said. “It was designed for mass killing.”
The slaughterhouse was equipped with cages to hold the dogs, two large cement water tanks to drown them, scales, and blowtorches for removing fur.
“Over the past 25 years, more than one million dogs have been drowned at the facility. The practice of drowning dogs causes immense pain and suffering and fails to conform to any international standards of humane euthanasia,” Polak said.
The operator and his family decided to quit the trade after campaigners from Four Paws offered them financial support to open a grocery store. Ouk Mol’s wife Sao Phally is glad that they have found a way out.
“We were always worried about sin because of our killing. People looked at us in a bad way,” Phally told AFP.
According to Four Paws, between two and three million dogs are slaughtered annually in Cambodia and there are more than 100 dog meat restaurants in the capital Phnom Penh.
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