Gov’t Set To Ban Slaughterhouse Activity on Buddhist Holidays

The Council of Minister’s ap­prov­ed a sub-decree Friday banning slaughterhouses from killing animals on Buddhist holy days.

If the sub-decree is signed into use by Prime Minister Hun Sen, abat­toirs across the country would no longer be allowed to kill animals such as cows, pigs and buffaloes during any of the 49 annual Buddhist holidays.

“Buddhism is the state religion and the Council of Ministers agreed to include in a sub-decree a ban all slaughterhouses from killing animals on Buddhist days,” according to a Friday press release from the Council of Mini­sters.

Seng Savorn, press officer for the Council of Ministers, said the sub-degree also applies to Mus­lim-owned establishments.

“If any slaughterhouse wants to kill animals, it should be done a day before Buddhist days,” he said.

Yem Voeunthan, secretary of state for the Ministry of Agricul­ture, said that he supported the sub-decree and doubted that the curb on killing would adversely af­fect slaughterhouses.

“It is such a good decree be­cause 90 percent of Cambodians are Buddhist and should not kill animals one day in a week,” he said.

The sub-decree does not apply to killing fish or chickens, he added.

Nhem Sophal, owner of a slaughterhouse in Russei Keo district’s Chroy Changva commune, said that his slaughterhouse kills six to seven cows and buffalo everyday and up to 12 animals during the country’s many national holidays.

“People eat meat everyday,” Nhem Sophal said. “So meat should be supplied to the market everyday, too,” he said.

Chan Roth, whose Meanchey district slaughterhouse kills be­tween 50 and 60 pigs per day, said she opposed the ban because her customers rely on daily deliveries of fresh pork meat.

“They can’t use two-day old pork meat for soup. It would not be delicious,” she said.

Ahmad Yahya, SRP lawmaker and prominent member of the Cham Muslim community, said that creating a law that bans slaughtering animals on particular religious days created an un­necessary divide been people of different faiths.

“If we make a sub-degree it means that other religions have to follow it,” he said. (Additional reporting by James Welsh)


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