PURSAT: The owners of 19 restaurants in Pursat province have vowed not to sell wild game meat, pledging their dedication to preserving wildlife in Cambodia. The Ministry of Environment awarded certificates to 10 restaurants who vowed not to sell wild game meat on 22 April 2023, while nine other restaurants received these certificates back on 7 April 2023.
Pin Pan, the owner of Phan Lan Restaurant in Veal Veng district, shared to EAC News that he has been running a restaurant for 23 years, and previously sold wild game meat until 2005. He has now completely stopped selling any form of wildlife at his business.
He said that after he decided to stop selling wild game meat, some of his customers would come and ask if he still sold game at his restaurant, and in those situations he would try and explain the risks of eating wildlife in the hopes that he could change their consumption habits. While some customers heeded his warning, others did not pay him much mind.
Pin Pan added that he is not worried about losing customers after stopping the sale of wild game meat, and rather feels much more free from the law.
"I am not worried [about a decrease in the number of customers] because now there is more food, more seafood, available to sell, so we can continue making a livelihood that is better than when selling wild game meat," he said.
The owner of Veal Veng Resort and Phnom Phnom Pum Restaurant, Kong Vilay, also shared that she has never once sold wild game meat since starting her business. She stated that there are customers who come to her restaurant and always ask for wild meat, but she does not gave to those demands. She has vowed not to sell wild game meat due to the various infectious diseases they can cause people to develop.
Restaurant owners in Pursat who received certificates from the Ministry of Environment have called on all restaurant owners in Pursat and other provinces to stop selling wild game meat and to participate in wildlife conservation in Cambodia.
The Secretary of State and Spokesperson for the Ministry of Environment, Neth Pheaktra, has shared that since the completion of the first phase of the Zero Trap Campaign, and the beginning of the campaign's second phase in Pursat Province at the start of early April 2023 — which then continued on to Kampong Speu, Koh Kong, Battambang and Pailin provinces — a total of 71 restaurants have declared that they will no longer sell any wild game meat.
Secretary of State Neth Pheaktra has said that eating wild animals does not provide energy, cure diseases or provide any other health benefits as traditionally believed, and rather only poses the risk of viruses and the spread of other infectious diseases.
According to the Country Director of WWF Cambodia, Seng Teak, scientific reports have shown that continued consumption of wildlife could lead to the breakout of another global pandemic, including such diseases as Covid-19, SARS, MERS, H1N1 flu, Ebola and more.