In a country where 5 million dogs are still eaten each year, it was high time to see an official government animal welfare association emerge. It’s done. The Vietnam Animal Protection Association was formed on February 3rd, 2018 in Da Nang and elected its first executive committee with 25 members. The Association is henceforth part of the Ministry of the Interior and aims to prevent forms of abuse and cruelty to animals.
Animals welfare attitudes improved these last year in Vietnam but the absence of an important legislation made the concept still strange and vague to a big part of the population. In Vietnam, 5 million dogs are eaten every year. Today, the dog meat trade in Vietnam is provoking an increasingly lively debate, both among Vietnamese and the international community. Although the majority of the Vietnamese population thinks that this trade should be banned because it is illegal and barbaric, we can also see Vietnam becoming richer, and the dog’s meat consumption becoming more common. When dog meat was once considered quite exotic, it is now much more accessible, less expensive and more and more popular with poor people.
Dog meat has gained a reputation among Vietnamese consumers as a healthy, widely available meat high in protein compared to other meats. In the Chinese medicine, the meat is meant to increase man’s virility, to warm the blood in cold weather, and is often associated with cultural superstitions. It is not unusual to see today in Vietnam a dozen dogs or cats put in a single small cage and loaded in trucks able to hold more than 1000 animals per truck and it is not uncommon to learn that traders pump the animals’ stomach with liquid rice while dogs are still alive to improve their weigh and make more money per kilogram. In addition to illegal trade and morality issues, there are, however, real health problems associated with dog meat consumption such as bacterial infections as Anthrax, Hepatitis leptospirosis, and even Rabies contraction.
Today many Animal associations are still fighting for animal rights in Vietnam. Last year an historic agreement has been signed to put an end to the bear bile farming and Vietnam has released his bears but still, the lack of real recognition and understanding of the animal sensitivity still constitutes an undeniable obstacle to the improvement of the animal protection in the country.