PETITION: Urge the Vietnam government to outlaw cruelty to animals

26 April 2018

Inability to prosecute organisers of brutal animal fights sparks petition asking Vietnam to implement a specific law targeting animal cruelty.

When footage of a pack of so-called hunting dogs tearing a single boar to death was uploaded to social media in March, Vietnam was outraged.

Welfare groups, the media and the public expressed disgust while the authorities promised to crack down.

Yet it soon became clear that any punishment wouldn’t match the crime. Vietnam simply doesn’t have a law specifically punishing intentional animal cruelty.

Animals Asia’s Animal Welfare Director, Dave Neale said:

“This shocking case has really highlighted a hole in the legislation. Nobody wants to see this kind of cruelty taking place in Vietnam, yet no one has the authority to end it.”

Potential charges to be leveled at the bloodsport organisers included organising an event without a license, damaging private property, or keeping dogs without the required rabies vaccinations.

A 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.”

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

Animals Asia’s Vietnam Director Tuan Bendixsen said:

“Now, we are calling on the government to urgently implement legislation to guide the Animal Health law 2016 to include details of how animals must be protected. These guidelines are needed to specifically outlaw deliberately causing pain and suffering to animals, and must include strong punishments for people who commit acts of violence against animals.”

While amending a law is a long legal process which can take years, Animals Asia is pushing for the introduction and implementation of a Circular to guide Article 21 of the existing Animal Health law - a move which can be taken much more quickly.

Animal welfare has become an increasingly important topic of public debate in Vietnam over recent years.

In 2014, Animals Asia petitioned against a cruel spring festival in which a pig was chopped in half in public. As a result, strong condemnation gripped the country and calls for action resulted in numerous cruel festivals being banned.

In 2017, animal welfare concerns caused the Vietnam government to sign a legally binding agreement with Animals Asia to completely end bear bile farming in the country and move all captive bears to sanctuaries within a five-year period.

Dave said:

“When barbaric cruelty like these sick organised dog fights can go unpunished, and leave authorities powerless to act, urgent changes are needed.

“Thankfully, we know from experience that the Vietnamese government is willing to listen and take on board animal welfare concerns. And with tourism being an important industry, the country is very aware of its global image, meaning international criticism can be a real driver of change.”

Act now, call for urgent animal welfare laws in Vietnam. Sign the petition now.