Brutal dog vs boar “fight” in Vietnam sparks national outrage and calls for law change

23 March 2018

Welfare groups, the media and the public express shock after footage emerges of barbaric animal cruelty video filmed in the capital, Hanoi.

Footage showing a pack of hunting dogs mauling and killing a single boar as part of a club event has shocked Vietnam and prompted a widespread backlash.

Users of Facebook have condemned the footage which has been seen by millions on the social media platform since being filmed on 18 March in the suburbs of the capital, Hanoi.

The press too have been swift to demand action with every major newspaper in the country, including VNExpress and Tuoi Tre covering the outrage, while major news networks such as Vietnam Television (VTV) have also aired coverage of the event which was organised by a hunting dog club.

Yet despite the fury their cruel actions have caused, the event organisers remain defiant.

One youth involved in the event told media:

“We will continue doing it because it isn’t illegal – we’ll just not put it on social networks.”

But the bold claims of those taking part are in stark contrast to the authorities who have vowed to crack down.

Animals Asia’s Animal Welfare Officer, Nguyen Tam Thanh, who has been a vocal commentator opposing the cruel event, said:

“The behaviour seen in the videos is utterly barbaric and the Vietnamese public have made it abundantly clear that they will not tolerate this in their society. And while it’s very welcome news that the authorities are willing to act, the lack of a law specifically targeting animal abuse and cruelty of this kind makes it difficult for the punishment to match the crime.”

The charges potentially being levelled at the organisers include organising an event without a license, damaging private property, organising a violent activity in public or keeping dogs without the required rabies vaccinations.

While Vietnam passed its first animal welfare legislation in 2016 in the form of the Animal Health Law, there is presently no provision for punishment for those who carry out cruelty to animals.

Animals Asia’s Vietnam Director Tuan Bendixsen said: 

“This case makes it very clear that current regulations lag far behind the expectations of the public. As we’ve seen, the vast majority are completely horrified by these actions but right now there are no legal consequences for those who intentionally cause cruelty to animals.

“This case needs to be a wake up call to the authority that the country is desperately in need of stricter animal welfare legislation which specifically outlaws the deliberate causing of pain and suffering to animals. The current law needs to be clarified, expanded and punishments have to be put in place.”

Animal welfare has become an increasingly important topic of public debate in Vietnam over recent years. After Animals Asia highlighted a cruel spring festival in which a pig was chopped in half, public condemnation and calls for action resulted in numerous cruel festivals being banned.

A similar event in Indonesia came to light last year after an investigation by Animals Asia’s partner Scorpion Foundation. A campaign followed and resulted in an announcement from the Indonesian authorities that all such events would be banned.