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Dog slaughterhouse shut down after one million deaths

WARNING – DISTRESSING CONTENT: A slaughterhouse responsible for the deaths of one million dogs has closed its doors.

The facility, which butchered the animals for their meat in Skun, Cambodia, is alleged to have been a key supplier in the region since 1995.

Animal welfare group, Four Paws international, who orchestrated the dog farm’s closure on Thursday afternoon, reported the owner claimed to have butchered 200 dogs a day, supplying meat to restaurants in the country’s capital Phnom Penh.

Cages with dogs inside them in front of tanks used to drown dogs.
The last 16 dogs found at the slaughterhouse were rescued. Source: Four Paws (Four Paws)

Chained up inside the facility, rescuers found 16 surviving dogs and a monkey chained above a series of four-foot-high tanks which were used to drown the dogs.

Describing the slaughterhouse as "a true house of horrors”, Four Paws senior vet Dr Katherine Polak said the tiny primate likely watched tens of thousands of dogs drown.

The plan was to rescue him, but he died suddenly, before the facility was officially closed.

A shot of three tanks used to drown the dogs. A monkey can be seen chained up in the background.
A monkey chained above the drowning tanks is believed to have seen thousands of dogs die. Source: Four Paws (Four Paws)

“The slaughterhouse was by far one of the most shocking facilities our team had ever visited,” Dr Polak said.

“When we discovered the two elevated, cement water tanks, it was immediately clear to us that this slaughterhouse was designed for mass killing.

“The practice of drowning dogs causes immense pain and suffering and fails to conform to any international standards of humane euthanasia.”

'Sigh of relief' as owner shuts Cambodia slaughterhouse

Dr Polak said Four Paws stumbled across the facility during an investigation in the area in late 2019.

She says the experience has haunted her ever since.

"We were just shocked," she said.

"We've seen some pretty terrible places, but this took the cake so to speak."

Two close up images of dogs inside rusty cages at the slaughterhouse in Cambodia.
Dogs were kept in tiny cages and drowned in four-foot-high tanks, according to rescuers. Source: Four Paws (Four Paws)

Finding a cage full of puppies destined to be slaughtered, the owner agreed to surrender them and talks continued.

The owner eventually reached out for help to shut down his facility.

Four Paws is now assisting the man convert his premises into a general goods shop and construction business.

Now that it has been closed and the tanks demolished, Dr Polak said she has breathed a sigh of relief.

Rescued dogs face brighter future

The last 16 dogs surviving at the farm were removed and will undergo assessment before rehoming.

They have joined a group of 61 dogs which were confiscated by authorities on February 21, after they were discovered inside a bus travelling through Siem Reap — a province where consumption of their meat is specifically banned.

Left - a man destroying a water tank used to drown dogs. Right - broken bricks after the water tank was destroyed.
The owner of the slaughterhouse agreed to allow the facility to be destroyed. Source: Four Paws (Four Paws)
A rescue dog is examined by three vet staff inside a clinic.
A rescued dog is given a health check. Source: Four Paws (Four Paws)

Across Cambodia, many dogs butchered for their meat are believed to be stolen pets as well as strays, and ingestion is associated with rabies and cholera.

Medical experts have escalated their concerns about the risk of zoonotic diseases since the Covid-19 pandemic and China has banned the consumption of many exotic meats.

Across Asia, around 30 million dogs and cats are still believed to be killed for their meat each year, with the multitude processed in unhygienic, unregulated facilities.

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