Animal Charity

Behind the Scenes: A Further Look at a Slaughterhouse Closure

Dr Katherine Polak tells us the delays that a slaughterhouse closure can face, and what happens once it is closed.

7.4.2021

We understand that the images and videos we show of the horrors of the dog and cat meat trade evoke a want for immediate change. In an ideal world, this would be the case. But, unfortunately, there can be delays.

Fortunately, we never give up.

Below, Dr Katherine Polak, Head of Southeast Asia Stray Animal Care at FOUR PAWS, tells us what can get in the way of a slaughterhouse closure and what the first steps are after they have been overcome:

What are the barriers that delay the closure of a slaughterhouse? 

“There are quite a few barriers that can delay a closure.  For one, weather.  During our last closure in Kampong Thom, a cyclone rolled through the country just days before bringing horrendous rain and flooding. Tuk tuks were stuck in the middle of the streets due to mud. Travel was nearly impossible.

Another issue is the ongoing COVID situation. Recently, there was a bad outbreak of COVID due to infected people escaping COVID quarantine hotels.  We are very concerned that Phnom Penh could be locked down, not allowing our staff to travel.

We also need the commitment from the owner and local authorities to move forward. If either change their mind for whatever reason, we need to adjust the plans accordingly.

Another issue is supply procurement.  Most supplies are imported, and dog crates are sent from China. Logistics are badly affected due to COVID, during our last rescue, the transport crates didn’t arrive until the day after the rescue!  The team was frantically buying crates from every pet shop and rescue group in Cambodia the night before!  Supplies also commonly get stuck in customs.”

What is the first thing to happen to the animals once the slaughterhouse is closed?

“Well, from the slaughterhouse, each dog is loaded into a transport crate and taken to our partner charity in Phnom Penh, Animal Rescue Cambodia. There he or she will get medical examination. Many of them are usually suffering from exhaustion, dehydration, and other injuries.  From there, they are tucked away for the night at the shelter with their own beds, blankets, and toys, to help them forget about the traumas they’ve endured.”

You can find out about our latest closure here.

Animal Charity

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Dr Katherine Polak

Dr Katherine Polak

FOUR PAWS Head of Stray Animal Care - Southeast Asia

Katherine currently manages FOUR PAWS companion animal programs in Southeast Asia, with a special focus on combating the cruel dog and cat meat trade.

A specialist in both Shelter Medicine and Veterinary Preventive Medicine, she has worked for several animal welfare and sheltering organisations in North America and Asia.

Her focus is on veterinary training, high-quality, high-volume spay/neuter programs, and organisational capacity building. Katherine works closely with FOUR PAWS' partner organisations in Cambodia, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Thailand to create a strong network of stray animal care programs in the region. 

Katherine also teaches for universities in the US and consults on a variety of community cat management programs around the world. 

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