Ending Viet Nam’s dog meat trade

Humane Society International / Global

Dogs in a cage just before being rescued from a slaughterhouse in Viet Nam
Chau Doan/AP Images for HSI

A cruel and dangerous trade

An estimated five million dogs and one million cats are trafficked and slaughtered every year in Viet Nam to supply meat for human consumption. This trade involves immense animal cruelty and criminal activity, with the majority of animals stolen from the streets and even from people’s homes.

The animals are tightly packed into small cages, loaded onto trucks and transported on arduous journeys, sometimes lasting several days. Throughout the journey, they are denied food, water or rest, and many die from suffocation, dehydration or heatstroke before reaching their final destination—a restaurant, market or slaughterhouse.

Not only is the trade immensely cruel, it also poses a significant risk to public health and safety, particularly with regards to the trade’s role in facilitating the transmission of the deadly rabies virus that still kills approximately 70 people each year in Viet Nam. The majority of human rabies cases in Viet Nam are linked to dog bites, with a significant number directly linked to the slaughter, butchering and even consumption of dogs. With vast numbers of dogs of unknown disease or vaccination status being trafficked across the country, the dog meat trade directly jeopardizes anti-rabies efforts and puts at risk the health and life of everyone connected with the trade.

Our work

Humane Society International works throughout Viet Nam to tackle the dog meat trade, calling for the strengthening of laws and regulation to prohibit the dog meat trade on grounds of animal welfare and public health and safety.

Our goal is a nationwide ban on the cruel trade in, and slaughtering of, dogs, and their consumption. We are committed to raising the profile of the issue to both the government and public by highlighting the illegality involved in the trade as well as the significant risk the trade poses to public health and safety.

By raising awareness of the dangers of the trade as well as of the unimaginable cruelty endured by millions of dogs each year, we can change public perceptions and harness the voices of the ever-growing pet-owning and loving society in Viet Nam to influence policy makers in favor of reform, while also ending the demand, and, therefore, the supply, of dogs.

We are committed to working with the authorities to launch programs to encourage responsible pet guardianship, increase rabies vaccination coverage, promote compassion to all companion animals and support the enforcement of existing laws that are routinely flouted by traders and disrupt their illegal operations.

In addition, after many years of successfully running our Models for Change program in South Korea, we’re excited to have launched this program in Viet Nam in 2022. We are working directly with traders and industry workers who are seeking to leave the cruel trade behind them and transition to alternative livelihoods. As well as rescuing dogs where we can, we hope our program will inspire other traders to follow, while also helping to raise vital public and political awareness of—and opposition towards—the trade, and serve as a blueprint for authorities to follow.

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