Pig slaughter festival goes ahead in Vietnam amid increased outcry

16 February 2016

The two terrified  pigs were tied up, covered with paint, and forced into a crate

Two pigs were slaughtered at the Nem Thuong Festival after being cruelly tied down and paraded through the town - the only concession to the public outcry being a private execution.

The event was reported in Vietnam’s Tuoi Tre newspaper:

“Instead of scrapping a brutal public pig-hacking rite as urged by many people and an animal rights organization, locals in a northern Vietnamese province went ahead with a swine slaughter ritual as part of their traditional Tet (Lunar New Year) festival on Saturday, but away from the spotlight.”

It continued:

“The ruthless pig-hacking ritual, the festival’s core activity, has met with strong public reactions, cultural authorities’ warnings, and an appeal to drop it from Animals Asia, a Hong Kong-based animal protection organization.”

Money would be rubbed in the pig's blood to procure good fortune for the New Year, 2016

The two terrified pigs were tied up, covered with paint, and forced into a crate. They were led through the area in front of large crowds before being moved to a private area to be slaughtered. Previously that slaughter had taken place in front of the cheering onlookers who dipped money in the blood for luck.

Animals Asia has opposed this cruelty since 2014 and it has become the most reported campaign ever run by the animal welfare charity within Vietnam.

Animals Asia Animal Welfare Officer Nguyen Tam Thanh said:

“We should never underestimate the importance of one life, or two pigs as is the case here, and instead simply respect all life. Beyond these lives, what is also clear is that this has become a huge issue in Vietnam and a wider animal welfare debate has been prompted by our work in opposing this festival.

“Do these pigs need to die so horrifically? The answer is of course - no. If people want to compare this cruelty to other cruelty faced by animals then again they need to ask themselves if that too is necessary. This is the debate that is happening in newspapers, on social media, online forums and indeed in workplaces, tea stalls and among families. Most importantly it’s also happening in the heads of people who read about our work.

The pig's legs are roped tightly

Animals Asia Animal Welfare Director Dave Neale added:

“It was a minority that stood up and said ‘this is wrong’ but it is those insisting this continues that are the minority now. Seventy nine per cent of Vietnamese are against this. There are clearly deep divisions in Nem Thuong itself now. They join the Prime Minister, and the Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism in wanting this to end. We will keep fighting this tradition, not just for these pigs, but for all animals who benefit from this valuable animal welfare debate in Vietnam. Again the media has reported this ongoing conversation responsibly and with an open mind and for that Vietnam must take credit.”

Almost 30,000 Animals Asia supporters across the world signed a petition to end the slaughter of these pigs. Animals Asia has not opposed the wider festival and believes it should go ahead but without animal use and cruelty.