A country on the verge of change

17 February 2015

While this year’s Nem Thuong pig slaughter festival in Vietnam looks likely to go ahead – it does so against the backdrop of a country demanding animal welfare change.

Hundreds of articles and thousands of column inches have been devoted to the issue with one online poll revealing an overwhelming majority of 79% of Vietnamese wanting to see the barbaric practice outlawed.

Politicians too have had their say with Phan Dinh Tan, spokesman for the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism unambiguously backing calls to scrap the slaughter.

Driving the debate was Animals Asia’s international petition to end the festival, which drew more than 12,000 signatures and prompted local media to pick up the story.

Yet despite the outcry and the clear wishes of the public, it now seems apparent that animals will be slaughtered this lunar New Year in the village of Nem Thuong. There have been suggestions that the festival may be toned down but reports suggest that any changes, at this point, will be cosmetic.

The pig is paraded through the village

Animals Asia will continue to work hard to push for all future festivals to be animal-free.

Media are reporting that the Ministry of Culture has advised the Secretariat of the Central Party Committee to issue a directive on future management of the festival which should make it increasingly difficult for such an event to take place in the future.

Animals Asia’s Animal Welfare Officer Nguyen Tam Thanh said:

“It seems that once again, the village of Nem Thuong will see in the New Year with a display of barbaric animal cruelty. Myself and my colleagues will be there to bear witness to the cruelty – and should there be calls to continue the event in future years, we will once again stand up for these defenceless and voiceless animals.”

Animals Asia founder and CEO, Jill Robinson MBE said:

“In Nem Thuong tragically, change will have to wait.  Across the rest of Vietnam – change is coming thick and fast. This campaign has shown that Vietnam is more than ready to make the change, with the vast majority of both the people and those in positions of power advocating an end to the barbaric practice.

“The positive is that thanks to animal lovers around the world choosing to care and take action by signing our petition, we are that much closer to realising the end of this cruel festival. It looks increasingly possible that the Year of the Goat will see legislation passed to end animal sacrifice as part of cultural festivals in Vietnam.”

Locals rub money in the pigs blood to procure good fortune for the New Year