The Cambodian Mine Action Centre on Friday signed an MoU with Four Paws International and Animal Rescue Cambodia aimed at protecting dogs and pushing for a ban on the dog meat trade in the Kingdom.
CMAC uses dogs for its demining operations and its director Heng Ratana yesterday said the MoU is aimed at encouraging the public to end cruelty to dogs.
“Firstly we promote improving the health of the mine-sniffing dogs and security dogs that we have,” he said. “Secondly, we will jointly work to persuade people to stop eating dog meat.”
“We also plan to hold a workshop to discuss breeding more mine-sniffing and security dogs,” he added.
Mr Ratana said that more needs to be done to stop people from eating dog meat, including making them aware of risks to their health.
“I believe we need more effort to raise public awareness that eating dog meat can result in infections from various types of viruses and also about our traditions and customs which teach the need to treat dogs kindly,” he said.
Mr Ratana also said that he hoped to lobby for laws to protect dogs, but first he wanted to raise public awareness on treating the animals properly.
“I believe that there should be laws to protect dogs which some of our neighbouring countries already have,” he said. “However, we cannot rush into having them and need to gradually spread awareness on the issue.”
Animal Rescue Cambodia issued a statement on the agreement with CMAC on Friday.
“Today, we were thrilled to sign an MoU to formalise our partnership with CMAC. Together with Four Paws International, we are working together to bring an end to the dog meat trade in Cambodia,” the statement said.
A veterinarian at Animal Rescue Cambodia, who declined to be named, yesterday said that the main focus of her organisation is to protect stray dogs.
“Our organisation is focusing on caring for stray dogs, some of which we come across ourselves and others which people report seeing and we go out to collect,” she said.