Restaurants in Cambodia are seeing rising demand for dog meat, thought to be inspired by local people and immigrants from Vietnam and China believing that the meat has health benefits.
Restaurants serving dog meat eateries are opening up around the country, in rural provinces as well as in the capital city of Phnom Penh. Fans and fierce critics alike say the demand for the meat is rising exponentially, and vendors are expanding accordingly to meet the demand, Channel NewsAsia reported.
A dog meat lover was quoted in the report as saying that dog meat tastes better than pork and makes his body feel better.
Dog meat prices have doubled over the past five years due to a supply shortage, forcing restaurants to source the meat from markets far away, said a restaurant owner named Pheap. He added that dog meat eaters are mainly local people and Vietnamese, plus a few Chinese.
A trader who wished to remain anonymous said her husband often made trips to the area neighboring the Vietnam-Cambodia border to find live stray dogs to butcher.
In Asia, about 30 million dogs are slaughtered every year, according to Humane Society International. In Vietnam alone, five million dogs are butchered annually for their meat, said the Asia Canine Protection Alliance.
In Vietnamese culture, dog meat is believed to be medicinal, with benefits such as boosting libido and warming the human body in cold weather.
Animal rights groups condemn the trade and consumption of dogs in Asia, arguing that many of the animals butchered are not only stolen domestic pets, but they are slaughtered in particularly brutal ways.