Vietnam government gets tough on festival cruelty

04 November 2016

Vietnam’s central government has given the strongest indication yet that cruel events such as the Nem Thuong pig slaughter festival will no longer be tolerated.

According to state media, Vietnam’s Ministry of Culture, Sport and Tourism “has ordered an end to all performances that include either violent or offensive rituals, such as killing animals.”

The strong statement is the latest in a series of central government releases criticising the Nem Thoung festival since Animals Asia highlighted the brutality of the event in 2014.

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

Since then, more than 30,000 compassionate people from around the world signed Animals Asia’s petition against the festival prompting widespread coverage in the Vietnamese media.

The campaign has impacted animal cruelty far beyond the pig slaughter festival, with the authorities keen to halt all cruel festivals, which many now see as belonging to the past. 

Support has also come from the Vietnamese public – 79% of which agreed in a newspaper poll that the pig slaughter festival should end.

The under fire festival has since toned down the brutality of the pig slaughter ritual – holding the killings in private rather than public – but clearly hasn’t done enough to dampen public and governmental disgust.

Animals Asia’s Vietnam Director Tuan Bendixsen said:

“It’s very clear that central government want Nem Thuong and all festivals which involve the suffering of animals to end immediately. However, it remains to be seen how that translates into action on the ground.

“Provincial government will ultimately be responsible for upholding any central government decision. In the coming weeks we hope to have more details on how the government plans to enforce any proposed ban on cruel festivals in the country.”

More reading – “It’s Just a pig!” - how an Animals Asia campaign helped change Vietnam for animals.

Money would be rubbed in the pig's blood to procure good fortune for the New Year, 2015