Vietnamese Buddhist monk speaks out against animal cruelty at New Year festivals

19 February 2019


Buddhist monk Thich Minh Thanh has told media in Vietnam that beginning the New Year by chopping pigs or stabbing buffalos will not bring good luck.

According to Thich Minh Thanh, New Year celebrations should be holy, while harming animals for luck will only make our dreams harder to attain.

The monk from a pagoda in Vietnam’s Nam Dinh province spoke out against animal cruelty through Facebook in an effort to teach people compassion before backing up his statements in the press.

He specifically mentioned the Nem Thuong Village Pig Chopping Festival which has been opposed by Animals Asia since 2014.

Thich Minh Thanh told media:

“In the first days of the New Year we perform rituals to pray for peace, but when causing death and pain and misfortune for living beings by stabbing buffalos and chopping pigs…how can we have happiness and peace?”IMG_6194

Following Animals Asia’s campaign against the Nem Thuong Pig Chopping Festival, the central Vietnamese government declared that all “uncivilised” festivals must end leading to numerous buffalo stabbing and fighting rituals being shut down.

However, the provincial government, which is responsible for policing the Nem Thuong spectacle, has so far failed to act.

In response to widespread criticism within Vietnam, the event organisers now slaughter the pigs behind closed doors although the two pigs are still tied up and paraded round the village before being killed with large ceremonial blades.


Animals Asia Animal Welfare Department Manager Nguyen Tam Thanh said:

“We are seeing near unanimous opposition within Vietnam to this cruel ritual. The people, NGOs, the media, the government and now the pagodas have all spoken out against it.

“Sadly, the village elders remain steadfast and continue to hide behind the excuse of tradition. But tradition can never be an excuse for animal cruelty. The abuse of live animals as part of New Year festivities has no place in the modern Vietnam.”


The general public was quick to back Thich Minh Thanh’s criticism of cruelty with 6,000 people rallying to his support with comments on social media.

Social media user Gin Pham said:

“I know these are traditional festivals, but truly they are barbaric and cause pain. Animals fear death just like humans so we must abolish customs like these.”

Huyen Hang wrote:

“I also oppose these old fashioned customs, in life we must know how to love animals and nature, that is a foundation of morality.”

Animals Asia will continue to raise awareness and opposition of the Nem Thuong Pig Chopping Festival and will work with the Ministry of Culture to convince local villagers and the organising committee to use alternatives to animals in future celebrations.