Anger in Vietnam as dog meat trade fuels crime

05 November 2014


The dog meat trade is continuing to hit the headlines in Vietnam with reports of retaliatory vigilante violence becoming commonplace.

Over the last six months, Vietnamese newspapers have carried regular stories on dog meat related criminality – many containing violent tales of stun-gun and knife-wielding gangs, high-speed chases, teenage fatalities and mob violence.

The violence is a direct result of rising anger in the country with increased claims that present laws are unfit for purpose.

Meat dogs are typically valued at around VND1 million (approximately USD$50) per animal – much lower than the threshold for criminal charges of VND2 million (around $100).

Dog thieves have taken advantage of the legal loophole to steal pets and guard dogs with relative impunity.

Le Duc Chinh from ACPA on the dog meat industry in Vietnam

Animals Asia's Vietnam Director Tuan Bendixsen said:

"People's outrage is growing with reports of dog meat related illegality coming in daily. While we can't condone any violence, the outpouring of anger is a clear sign that Vietnamese people's attitudes towards dogs are changing and they won't tolerate theft or violence towards them.

"The dog meat trade's Achilles heal is its illegality and that is what we, and our colleagues in ACPA, will continue to stress in our on-going work to end the industry."

Earlier this year, the Asian Canine Protection Alliance (ACPA) successfully lobbied for a moratorium on dog imports. The result was a ban on the import of dogs to Vietnam without the requisite rabies, veterinary health and source of origin certificates.

Previously, Thailand had supplied between and 200,000 and 500,000 dogs per year for the Vietnamese meat market. With Vietnam said to consume five million dogs annually, Vietnam's dog meat traders have been forced to look elsewhere to make up the approximate 10% shortfall.

Animals Asia's Vietnam Director Tuan Bendixsen on the trade in Vietnam

ACPA co-ordinator Le Duc Chinh said:

"We believe that reducing demand is vital. The dog meat trade is currently very much under the spotlight and its long-used illegal methods are no longer going unreported. This doesn't bode well for the industry and we know that dog meat restaurants are closing down in certain areas, particularly where affluence and therefore education are highest. Even those who might once have argued that eating dog is acceptable are now being won over as they realise so many of the dogs are illegally sourced with violence.

"Eating dog is completely legal in Vietnam, but the violence and criminality show that it is neither a viable industry nor one that can be made safe and humane through regulation. Dogs can't be farmed while maintaining animal welfare standards and adhering to food hygiene regulations. The only long-term solution is to end the trade once and for all. Dogs are traditionally eaten for good luck – not out of hunger. No one will go hungry as a result of dog meat restaurants closing."

ACPA was formed by Animals Asia, Change for Animals Foundation, Humane Society International and Soi Dog Foundation with the express remit to end the inhumane dog meat trade in South East Asia.

Dogs on truck to Vietnam 3