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The closely guarded and secret slaughterhouse for pigs is located in the middle of a residential neighbourhood on the outskirts of Phnom Penh. Because of the lack of modern equipment, the animals here are still traditionally killed in a gruesome manner. Although international organisations in recent years have repeatedly called for a reform of Cambodia’s virtually non-existent animal welfare laws, slaughtering conditions have remained unchanged.
The abattoir workers bludgeon the pigs with heavy metal rods. They then slit the animals’ throats and leave them to bleed to death, sometimes while still conscious. The dying pigs are dragged across the blood-soaked concrete floor before being thrown into a vat of boiling water. Throughout this brutal procedure, live and dead animals remain in the same room; the noises and smells are unimaginable and subject the pigs to maximum levels of stress.
This method is not without physical and psychological effects on the workers, who are employed on a piecework basis.
Livestock production is being driven by a rapidly increasing demand for meat in Cambodia and attractive prospects of profit for employers.
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