Vietnam News

Official calls for dog, cat meat ban in Hanoi

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Hanoi should phase out the trading and consumption of dog and cat meat, the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development has said.

Hanoi is a “city for peace” [a title granted by the UNESCO in 1999] that attracts millions of visitors every year, the department’s deputy director, Ta Van Tuong, said at a workshop held Tuesday to discuss the consumption of the meat.

So the slaughter, sale and consumption of dog and cat meat could create “bad feelings” among tourists, especially foreign visitors and expatriates living in the city, he said.

He wanted Hanoi to be a “city that says no to dog and cat meat” on a trial basis to start with.

Tuong said the city should tighten management on slaughterhouses and businesses trading processed dog and cat meat.

Those that violate health safety regulations will be shut down, which would reduce the number of facilities, he said.

The city should also catch stray dogs and those wandering on the streets without their owners, and take them to shelters to keep them away from dog thieves, who sell the animals to slaughterhouses.

Rahul Sehgal, director of international advocacy at Thai NGO Soi Dog Foundation International, which works to improve the welfare of dogs and cats in Asia, said the ban on sale and consumption of dog and cat meat is an effective tool and Hanoi could pilot it.

He said his NGO is committed to supporting the development of legal frameworks and communication activities to change people’s perspectives on dog and cat meat.

Some participants pointed out that eating dog and cat is an ancient habit in Vietnam, and so, to eliminate, it is necessary to raise public awareness and educate people.

In the long term, communication campaigns need to be implemented in such a way as to change behaviors based on scientific evidence and focus on people who trade dogs and cats for meat.

In a 2021 report, Four Paws, a global animal welfare organization based in Austria, pointed out that the trade in dog and cat meats “operates in breach of existing laws and regulations pertaining to infectious disease control, sanitation, cross border transportation, theft, and animal welfare.

“The true scale of the risks the dog and cat meat trade poses to both public and animal health is difficult to quantify given the nature of the operations of the trade, its reliance on a supply of animals of unknown health status and origins, as well as illegal operations.

“However, there is mounting evidence that the trade poses significant risks to global health – on top of well-known zoonotic risks of the trade that have directly been seen, such as rabies and anthrax.”

It said over five million dogs and cats are sold in Vietnam annually for meat, representing a community health risk.

Data from Hanoi’s agriculture department shows the city has 421,000 – 460,000 dogs and cats and the number is rising.

Since 2018 the city has been urging people to give up the habit of eating dog and cat meats.

In 2021 the department proposed a ban on the sale of dog meat in downtown areas.

The head of the department’s Sub-Department of Livestock and Veterinary Medicine, Nguyen Ngoc Son, said the number of people who ate dog meat decreased last year, but campaigns against it have not been “truly effective” because it is not easy to change a long-term habit.

In Vietnam, Hoi An is currently the only city to effect a ban.

It phased out dog and cat meat consumption in 2021 as part of efforts to become a tourist-friendly destination.

By Son Ha & Vo Hai – – July 4, 2023 

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