Animal welfare group calls for end to dog and cat meat trade in Vietnam

The animals are sold in open markets, but polls show most people think the meat should be banned.
By RFA Vietnamese
Animal welfare group calls for end to dog and cat meat trade in Vietnam A man uses a steel stick to move dogs before slaughtering them at a wholesale supplier of live dogs in Hanoi, Vietnam, Oct. 3, 2011.
Na Son Nguyen/AP

A global animal welfare organization has begun a campaign in three major Vietnamese cities, calling for an end to the trade of dog and cat meat for human consumption, according to state media reports.

The Vienna, Austria-based group, Four Paws, says the animals are killed cruelly and that the meat poses health risks from rabies and other diseases.

Calling its campaign “Journey of Love,” the group is organizing educational activities in Ho Chi Minh City, Danang and Hanoi to raise people’s awareness about the negative aspects of the dog and cat meat business.

“We believe now is the time to take immediate action against dog and cat meat trading activities, especially given the increasing incidence of diseases and epidemics,” Phan Thanh Dung, an officer from Four Paws’ Companion Animal Campaign, was quoted as saying by the Vietnam Law Newspaper.

Every year, about 6 million dogs and cats are caught, transported and slaughtered for their meat in Vietnam, according to Four Paws. Most of them are stolen from communities or strays taken from the streets.

Vendors in wet markets openly sell dead dogs and cats alongside live ones crammed into cages and waiting to be killed for human consumption, according to an August 2022 report by We Animal Media, an animal photojournalism agency that documents stories of animals used for human purposes.

While the sale and consumption of dog meat is legal in Vietnam, the government banned the consumption of cats in 1998 but then canceled the directive in 2020, the report said. 

Those who eat dog and cat meat run the risk of infection from potentially deadly bacterial diseases and parasites such as E. coli and salmonella, which are commonly found in contaminated meats, the report said. 

Animal rights groups and Vietnamese activists have been working to end the practices of selling and consuming dog and cat meat, given the poor conditions in which the animals are kept and the killing process conducted in view of other animals.

In late 2023, Four Paws and the People’s Committee of Hoi An, whose ancient town in central Vietnam is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, closed one of the municipality’s last remaining dog meat restaurants

A survey conducted by Four Paws in Vietnam in early 2021 indicated that 91% of people believed the government should ban the dog and cat meat trade. 

Also, 95% of respondents said they believed that eating dog and cat meat was not part of Vietnamese culture, and therefore supported ending the trade.

Translated by Anna Vu for RFA Vietnamese. Edited by Roseanne Gerin and Malcolm Foster.


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