Days after the Australian government announced it had approved the export of 10,000 live cows to Cambodia, a local firm has revealed that it is nearing completion of the Kingdom’s first modern slaughterhouse in Preah Sihanounk province – and that it is set to be the biggest in all of Asia.
Hor Sim Leang, managing director of SLN Meat Supply, said that construction of the $15 million slaughterhouse in Prek Toal village was already under way and almost 60 per cent complete.
“We will be the biggest in Asia, the third largest in the world,” Leang claimed, adding that the new slaughterhouse will have the capacity to process 3,000 live cattle per day.
Leang said the facility will be built in accordance with the Australian government’s Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS), and will be ready to receive 10,000 heads of Australian cattle as soon as December this year.
The cattle, which carry a price tag of $1,300 to $1,500 each, will spend an average of two weeks at sea before reaching Cambodian shores, according to Leang.
Up to 30 per cent of the beef processed at the new Preah Sihanouk province slaughterhouse will be sold to local markets at $12 per kilogram, while the remaining 70 per cent will be exported to neighbouring countries.
“We see big consumption of beef in the market, but the quality of the meat and the techniques are not up to Australia’s standards. Australian beef is the best quality,”
Luu Meng, president of the Cambodian Hotel Association (CHA) and owner of 11 restaurant and hotel businesses around Phnom Penh, said demand for beef in the Kingdom is increasing parallel to the rise in foreign-themed restaurants.
“The trend of eating beef, which is only 50 per cent cooked, or medium rare, is increasing, and this cooking style needs beef with good hygiene and good quality,” he said.
“The consumption and demand is so high now that I more than 100 per cent welcome this new slaughterhouse.”
Leang’s announcement came after Australian Minister of Agriculture Barnaby Joyce and the Australian Live Exports Council (ALEC) on Thursday announced that Cambodia had agreed to adhere to that country’s ESCAS protocol on animal health and welfare, and that 10,000 head of cattle had been earmarked for export.
ESCAS was introduced by Australia’s then-Labor government in 2012 after a ban on all live exports, which was prompted by reports of barbaric treatment of Australian animals in Indonesia in 2011.
Joyce’s announcement was quickly met with swift criticism from local agricultural industry tycoon Mong Reththy, who told the Post there were no slaughterhouses in the Kingdom that met the strict ESCAS requirements.
Following the concerns raised by Reththy on August 22, Alison Penfold, CEO of ALEC, tweeted under the @ALEC twitter handle that no Cambodian slaughterhouse facilities were currently seeking or had yet received approval for Australian cattle imports.