Recently in South Korea, animal advocates made progress in their efforts to ban the cruel dog meat trade. But in Vietnam, dogs and cats are still being stolen from their homes and brutally killed for their meat.
The surge of companion animal guardianship in Vietnam brings joy to millions of households as cats and dogs are becoming cherished family members. But this growing love for companion animals is overpowered by the horrific dog and cat meat trade, a brutal practice causing severe suffering, spreading diseases, and tearing families apart.
A recent investigation into the cat meat trade in Vietnam reveals accounts of extreme levels of abuse at "wet markets."
An investigation by the Daily Mirror found: “Caged cats howl in terror as they watch a man swoop in with a set of barbaric-looking pincers and yank one out by the scruff of its neck. After repeatedly bludgeoning the ginger animal, he plunges it in boiling hot water then throws the body into a defurring machine.”
In 2018, Vietnam declared it would ban dog meat consumption by 2021, yet investigations reveal that dogs are still killed for slaughter in broad daylight. Similarly, while cat meat was made illegal in Vietnam in 1998, the order was canceled in 2020. An estimated five million dogs and one million cats are stolen and cruelly slaughtered for meat every year for the meat trade in Vietnam.
The urgent call is not just for animal lovers but for anyone concerned about public health and safety.
Can we count on you to speak up for dogs and cats, stolen from their homes, and mercilessly killed for their meat in Vietnam?
Dogs and Cats Suffer Enormously due to Meat Trade
The majority of dogs and cats involved in this sickening trade are stolen companion animals, snatched from loving homes and thrust into the nightmare of filthy cages and overcrowded trucks.
From the moment of capture, these animals endure unimaginable conditions. Packed into crates, they are transported over long distances without food or water, sometimes for days. The animals show clear signs of severe psychological and physiological distress—labored breathing, loss of fur, vomiting, and extreme lethargy are just a few examples.
The methods used to kill these loving, emotional beings are beyond inhumane—bludgeoning, drowning, boiling, and strangulation. Often performed in public areas and in front of other terrified animals, this practice is a true nightmare. The corpses of dead dogs and cats are placed right next to live animals fearing for their lives in tiny, filthy cages.
Vietnam’s Cultural Perceptions of Cat Meat
Rooted in tradition, the practice of eating dogs and cats was initially seen as a form of sustenance, often linked with specific rituals or beliefs. In some regions, eating dog meat is believed to bring good luck or increased virility. Meanwhile, cat meat, often referred to as "little tiger," is consumed less frequently but still maintains a cultural presence. Some people view eating cats as a delicacy.
A 2020 investigation by The Independent found that the cat meat trade surged during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some people believe that cat meat has properties that can help to heal flu viruses.
However, public perception is changing. Research has found that only 6.3% of Vietnamese consume dog or cat meat, and 88% of the population surveyed was in support of a ban on dog and cat meat.
Human Health Concerns
This cruel trade doesn't just harm animals; it puts human lives at risk too. The filthy conditions of markets and slaughterhouses are hotspots for disease. Rabies—a fatal disease with a near 100% mortality rate once clinical signs appear—has been frequently detected in these animals. The trade also violates numerous global regulations on disease control, posing the risk of spreading rabies and other diseases across regions.
What's more, the unregulated nature of the trade allows dogs and cats to be slaughtered alongside other animals, including wildlife. This creates a perfect storm for new and potentially deadly viruses to emerge, a global health concern that can have catastrophic consequences, as we have seen in the past.
Wet Markets Harm Tourism
The most important reason to end the dog and cat meat trade is in the interest of protecting animals from suffering. But it is also important to consider the impact that these brutal markets have on the public perception of Vietnam and tourism.
Tourists today are more informed and concerned than ever before about the ethical implications of their travel. With the growth of social media and awareness-raising platforms, travelers are increasingly aware of animal welfare practices in their chosen destinations.
Bad animal welfare practices don't just hurt animals; they tarnish a nation's reputation. When tourists encounter or learn about such practices, whether it's inhumane animal markets or other forms of cruelty, it creates a lasting negative impression. This perception can spread quickly through word-of-mouth and online reviews, leaving a long-lasting stain on the country's image.
The presence of wet markets and other questionable animal welfare practices could lead to economic consequences. Tourists may opt to visit other destinations where such practices are either less prevalent or better regulated, which can lead to a decrease in tourism revenue.
Governments have a responsibility to enforce laws that align with global animal welfare standards and proven disease control measures. Many nations are passing progressive laws against the dog and cat meat trade on grounds of both animal welfare and public health. It's high time for Vietnam to strengthen and enforce existing laws to protect the interests of its citizens and their beloved companion animals.
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The petition is below. Feel free to copy/paste it into your email, or fill out the petition form here.
A Petition to Permanently End the Dog and Cat Meat Trade in Vietnam Kiến nghị chấm dứt vĩnh viễn việc buôn bán thịt chó mèo ở Việt Nam We are calling on The National Assembly to pass a ban on dog and cat meat in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. Dogs and cats are amazing, emotional, loving beings who suffer and feel pain just like us. They deserve to live their lives free from exploitation. Chúng tôi đang kêu gọi Quốc hội thông qua lệnh cấm ăn thịt chó, mèo ở nước Cộng hòa xã hội chủ nghĩa Việt Nam. Chó và mèo là những sinh vật tuyệt vời, tình cảm và đáng yêu, cũng chịu đựng và cảm nhận nỗi đau giống như chúng ta. Họ xứng đáng được sống cuộc sống không bị bóc lột. By ending the dog and cat meat trade in Vietnam, you can help to protect against the spread of dangerous diseases and also signal to the world that Vietnam is a country of compassion. Bằng cách chấm dứt buôn bán thịt chó, mèo ở Việt Nam, bạn có thể giúp bảo vệ khỏi sự lây lan của những căn bệnh nguy hiểm và cũng là tín hiệu cho thế giới biết rằng Việt Nam là đất nước nhân ái. With companion animal guardianship on the rise in Vietnam, it’s time for the changing attitudes of the people to be reflected in the laws. The vast majority of Vietnamese do not consume dog or cat meat, and the international community wants you to reflect the changing attitudes towards animals by instating laws that protect them from needless suffering. Với việc giám hộ động vật đồng hành ngày càng gia tăng ở Việt Nam, đã đến lúc thay đổi thái độ của người dân phải được phản ánh trong luật pháp. Đại đa số người Việt Nam không ăn thịt chó hoặc mèo, và cộng đồng quốc tế muốn bạn phản ánh thái độ đang thay đổi đối với động vật bằng cách ban hành luật bảo vệ chúng khỏi những đau khổ không đáng có. We urge you to do everything in your power to end this cruelty once and for all. Chúng tôi mong bạn hãy làm mọi thứ trong khả năng của mình để chấm dứt sự tàn ác này một lần và mãi mãi. Thank you. Cảm ơn
Thank you for speaking up for animals!