|Kokomo Photography | profile | all galleries >> Foods of South-East Asia Multigallery >> WARNING: This gallery contains extremely graphic images of the slaughter and butchering of dogs.||tree view | thumbnails | slideshow|
Image 1: Preparation for the kill.
|The images were shot in Banteay Meanchey Province in North-western Cambodia. I had eaten in the family restaurant the night before. The menu, in Khmer with poorly written English descriptions had an item called "Four Vegetables and Meat." Because of where I was, and the type of livestock I knew was available, I knew what the meat was.|
Image 2: Dog one.
|This dog had been slaughtered before I arrived. Using my hands, I indicated to the family's son, who spoke some minimal English, that the dog seemed small. He said "Yeah, it small one, but it mean one that like bite."|
Image 3: A last look.
|The dogs are penned before the slaughter and the children have gathered round to take a final look at today's choices. The men are trying to coax the dog to the pen entrance.|
Image 4: Dog two.
|This was the first dog slaughtered in my presence. The slaughter takes place in the form of a clubbing. It took two blows to kill him. Both blows were delivered in the span of about three seconds.
Image 5: Awaiting his fate.
|One of the three dogs to be slaughtered on this day is waiting in the pen. You can see his eyes in the distance.|
Image 6: The Clubbing.
|You will notice two wires stretching from the left side of the image. The wires are being used to pin the dog's head between the mesh gating and wooden posts. By locking the dogs head in place they are able to strike clean blows hoping to kill the dog with minimal suffering. If you look closely you can see the dogs head is pinned down just as the club hits its mark. As I will show in later images, the method was unsuccessful on this day.|
Image 7: Preparing the pot.
|As the third dog is being slaughtered the boy is cleaning the pot that will be used to boil all of them. The dogs are boiled whole to soften up the hair which is removed with a knife scraping process. The pot is rewashed in-between each dog. I am told that the black dogs fetch almost twice the price as the yellow ones. The black ones are said to enhance male stamina.|
Image 8: Not quite dead.
|As the men were setting up the pot of water used to boil the dogs I walked over to take a look at the third kill which had just been clubbed and removed from the pen. The younger children in the family were standing next to me out of curiosity. I noticed that the dog's legs and eyes were twitching. I pointed this out to the young girl and she said something to the clubber. He then walked over and struck two more blows. The look on his face seemed shamed as if to say "I was unsuccessful."|
Image 9: Dog three. He's dead now.
|The extra two blows were the dog's demise.|
Image 10: Carrying the carcass.
|The dogs were initially laid out separately. I indicated to the executioner that I would like to take a shot of the two dogs side by side. I did this by pointing my index fingers at each one and pulling the fingers together. He could not understand. I decided to do the job myself, much to the amusement of the kids. The two dogs together was one of two shots that I set up. The second was asking the executioner to hold up the heads which will be shown in a later image.
Image 11: Carrying the second carcass.
|These dogs are not light and I did not want the blood to drip on my clothing. I can see the executioner in the background smiling as I lift the beast. The two images of me carrying the dogs were taken by the Tuk-tuk (motorized rickshaw) driver who brought me there in the morning.|
Image 12: Laid out.
|This is the shot I was looking for and had to set up. Notice the knife and scrub brush in the upper right and the sharpening stone in the bottom center. The scrub brush is used to clean any residual hair that remains after the skinning process. I saw it used mostly around the animals face and genitals.|
Image 13: Ready for the pot.
|After all the work carrying and placing the dogs together for the last shot the workers picked them up again and carried them over to the pot of boiling water and stacked them together anyway.|
Image 14: The boiling process.
|The dogs are cleaned in boiling water to soften the hair for removal. The hair removal process seemed to be the most difficult part of the job as they would repeatedly dip the dogs, remove some hair, and redip them again. The residual hair around the face and genitals had to be removed with a scrub brush so as not to damage the meat.|
Image 15: Preparing breakfast.
|This shot took a bit of work as I was over by the men and had to run around to catch the woman and yard while still keeping the men in the background. My photographic antics were a constant amusement for the children.
The woman is gathering water for breakfast. The breakfast included rice porridge and mixed vegetables as well as some fruit and coffee. Rice is in short supply in Asia due to flood conditions last season and drought conditions this one. It was very kind of the family to share their food with me. The breakfast did not, to my knowledge, include any dog meat. I also joined the men for a beer afterwards. For some reason they did not offer breakfast to my Tuk-tuk driver who patiently waited.
Image 16: Pot of water.
|Much to my surprise they emptied and cleaned the pot in-between each dog. They included sanitary practices throughout the process but overall the conditions were not clean. The yard had a large amount of waste in it. The odor was also unpleasing.|
Image 17: Hair stripping process.
|After the dogs are boiled the hair is removed through a scraping process. The men continued to re-dip the dogs in boiling water and sharpen their knives throughout the process. This seemed to be the hardest part of the job. Removing the hair took them at least 15 minutes per animal. The meat was butchered much quicker.|
Image 18: The final dip.
|After the tedious job of hair removal, the dog is dipped in the boiling water one last time.|
Image 19: Ready for the flame.
|They brought the dog to the water pump where the woman and children gave it one final scrub down before the roasting process. The dog is roasted before the disembowelment. The men are preparing the grill as I take the shot.|
Image 20: The roasting.
|The quick roast will remove any remaining hair before the disembowelment and butchering. The dog is roasted for about two to three minutes on either side using only palm leaves.|
Image 21: Roasting the other side.
|This was the largest of the three dogs. The other two were a female and a younger animal. The barbeque scent was strong and had a perfume like odor although you wouldn't want to wear it. I believe the strength of the odor was due to the skin. I have also smelled the meat cooking and although the meat has a pungent odor, it is not nearly as pungent as the skin.|
Image 22: Laid out.
|There was still one final washing before the butchering. That's a scrub brush in his right hand. The image shows the smallest and largest of the three animals. I did not see the large one on the scale however I did get a shot of the smaller one as she was being weighed. She was a hair over nine kilos. I am guessing the big male is more than double that.|
Image 23: The butchering begins.
|The paws were removed first. He cut through them quickly and easily. He knew just where the joint was and was able to remove them without having to saw through bones. I am not sure if the paws are used for anything but he did collect all 12 in a single basket.|
Image 24: Decapitation 1/4.
|The first part of the decapitation is also done with minimal effort. The knife it pulled from the outside in. It takes about four pulls to get completely through the throat. The spinal cord offered its own difficulties as will be shown in a later image. The basket on the right of the image contains the meat from the smaller animal.|
Image 25: Decapitation 2/4.
|Half way through. He began the decapitation with a butcher's knife but he is now reaching over by the water pump to get a cleaver so that he can hack through the spine.|
Image 26: Decapitation 3/4.
|The butcher changed from the knife to the cleaver. He seemed to be less skilled in cutting through the spine than he was with other parts of the butchering. He would hack at it several times and then grab and twist the head and hack a couple more times before it finally separated.|
Image 27: Decapitation 4/4.
|Final removal of the head. The decapitation was probably the most difficult part to watch. He had to cut, hack, twist, and cut again before the vertebra finally separated. There was also quite a bit of blood during this part of the process. I was standing close as he hacked and my pants got splattered. The stain remains.|
Image 28: The upper meat.
|The upper half of the body seems to have the best meat. It is lean but not completely so. This part of the butchering went extremely quick. The carcass was stripped of most of the meat within two to three minutes.|
Image 29: The rear flank.
|The top half of the body was severed on both sides from just north of the upper rib through the shoulder and to the neck The bottom half is now being severed from the lower rib through the hip and to the tail.|
Image 30: Disembowelment 1 (The upper organs).
|The upper organs were removed very carefully and placed in their own laundry basket along with the lower organs and apart from the other meat. He would later wrap each organ in newspaper and tie it with a string.|
Image 31: Disembowelment 2 (The lower organs.)
|The lower organs were also removed delicately so as not to soil the meat. At one point he cuts the urine sac and immediately flushes the area with water washing everything away. As with the upper organs, all parts were individually wrapped in newspaper and bagged.|
Image 32: Final dismemberment.
|The butchering is complete however the work is not done. The intestines still need to be cleaned and stuffed as will be shown in a later image. The meat and organs need to be wrapped, weighed, and packaged for distribution to other restaurants. One dog needs to be prepared for their own restaurant. All the pots and knives need to washed and the men need to clean themselves up as well.|
Image 33: Intestinal cleaning.
|This was the most unpleasant part of the entire slaughter and butchering. Trust me on that.|
Image 34: Head shot.
|This is the final shot in the series and one of the two photos that I set up. I motioned to him by pointing to the heads and raising my hands in a lifting motion. He then picked up the heads and tried to hand them to me. I stepped back quickly to the hysterical laughter of the children. I then used my hands to motion that I was going to take his picture. I stepped back and shot.|