Bangkok, Jun 8 (efe-epa).- The popular tourist area of Siem Reap has become the first province of Cambodia to ban the sale of dog meat amid health concerns and pressure from animal rights groups.
The move was lauded by NGOs such as Four Paws International.
“The historic decision by the Siem Reap government to ban the stealing, trading and killing of dogs is a huge milestone for animal welfare in Cambodia and is reflective of current sentiment among Khmer people,” Katherine Polak, the NGOs Southeast Asia director said.
“We hope that Siem Reap will serve as a model for the rest of the country to follow suit to protect the lives of millions of dogs.”
The measure introduced by local authorities comes into effect this week.
Siem Reap attracts more than two million tourists every year, many of whom come to see the iconic Angkor Wat temples but Four Paws had identified the region as being a hotspot in dog meat trade.
“During nationwide investigations, Four Paws identified Siem Reap province as a key hot spot in the country’s dog meat trade, responsible for the large-scale sourcing and trafficking of dogs to supply the demand for dog meat in the Eastern part of the country, most notably Cambodia’s capital Phnom Penh,” the NGO said in a statement.
“The province’s dog meat trade is of considerable magnitude, involving upwards of 7,000 dogs per month, most of them ending up in slaughterhouses where they are drowned en masse.”
The Siem Reap agriculture department on Monday informed of its decision to become the first province in Cambodia to ban the sale and slaughter of dogs.
Those who break the law could face jail time of up to five years and fines between $1,700 and $12,000.