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Hidden Truth on Dog Meat Consumption in Vietnam
People always link “China” and “Yulin Dog Meat Festival” to dog meat consumption. The Festival is coming soon. While spotlights shine on the Chinese city, there are over 10,000 dogs being slaughtered for human consumption every day in its neighboring country, Vietnam. Mr. Genlin, the founder of World Dog Alliance (WDA) has been visiting Vietnam, South Korea, Taiwan, Japan, Thailand and China, and investigating the situation of dog-eating in the regions, since 2014. His findings have been filmed as Eating Happiness, a documentary revealing the cruelty of dog meat consumption in Asia. WDA has noticed that the situation in Vietnam is rarely reported by media. Thus, this is a timely opportunity to publish related videos.
Dog meat consumption in Vietnam
Over 80% of the population in Vietnam eats dogs, ranking first in the world. Dog meat is part of Vietnamese’s everyday life. Dog meat is one of their favorite cuisines. It is estimated that Vietnamese consume around 5 million dogs. Dog meat restaurants are everywhere on the streets. It is disturbing to see dog meat traders killing and burning dogs in public. They even put grilled dogs in open areas.
Inhumane dog meat trade
Dogs are transported in a very inhumane way. They are put in cages. Each cage carries around 10 dogs. Cages are stacked up 6 high and 3 across, and then delivered to every regions in Vietnam by 5-10 tons trucks. Dogs endure heat, hunger and dehydration in cramped conditions. Some dogs even fight and bite each other for more space. They are already seriously wounded upon arriving slaughterhouse. To maximize the profit, dogs are force-fed to fatten their meat, usually through a feeding pipe down the stomach. Dog meat traders hold dogs with clamps. They can do nothing but moan for help.
Exorbitant profit from dog meat trade
According to a Vietnamese dog meat trader, who is also a former pork trader, the profit from dog meat trade is attractive, because there is a significant difference in prices of foreign and domestic dog meat. It only costs 5-7 USD to buy a dog in Thailand. The price can rise to 100 USD in Vietnam. This is due to the huge demand on dog meat in Vietnam. When there is an insufficient domestic supply, dog meat traders start to obtain dogs illegally by stealing pets, catching street dogs and smuggling dogs from neighboring countries such as Thailand, Lao and Cambodia. Dog meat traders receive exorbitant profit, enabling them to afford luxurious houses topped with golden roofs.
Unfounded beliefs lead to high demand on dog meat
The high demand on dog meat in Vietnam is based on unfounded beliefs. Vietnamese believes dog meat is rich in proteins and makes men strong. Some restaurants claim that eating dogs could bring good luck to attract more customers. Some people even believe that beating dogs could boost its adrenaline, which makes dog meat more delicious. Dog meat is a signature cuisine of many restaurants, which is also very popular among customers. During Lunar New Year, dog meat restaurants in Hanoi are always packed. Many Vietnamese raise dogs as home guards. However, they would slaughter them when friends drop by. They believe it is an honor to serve their guests with dog meat.
Dog meat consumption expanded to other countries
There are many Vietnamese immigrants and workers in Asia. It is understandable to ease homesick with traditional dishes of their country, but that does not rationalize theft, slaughter, and consumption of dogs, which all disregard local law and norms in other countries. Occasional cases of Vietnamese killing and eating dogs occur in places such as Hong Kong, Taiwan and Malaysia.
In 2005, a staff of a restaurant in Sham Shui Po, Hong Kong, was found butchering a dog at an alley. A dog head was found in a basket. The restaurant was suspected of cooking dogs, which led to an outrage online. The 49-year-old Vietnamese owner was arrested later. According to Malaysian animal group MAA, a Vietnamese couple was found selling dog meat to their countrymen on Facebook in April 2018, with disturbing photos of dog corpses. Unfortunately, this couple was not punished, since there was no legal ban on dog meat in Malaysia.
Dog meat trade even takes place in Japan, which is a country full of dog lovers. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, around 25 tons of dog meat were imported from Vietnam in these three years. It is hard to imagine Japanese eating dogs and it is possible that the meat is mainly served for immigrants and migrant workers.
There are about 200,000 Vietnamese migrant workers in Taiwan. Their high demand has bolstered the rise of a new “dog and cat meat factories” that adopt the mode of large scale production line. They offer telephone delivery service to eliminate legal liability on customers’ side and post pictures of cat and dog corpses on Facebook, which leads to an outcry in Taiwan.
2015 was the year with the largest number of cases of Vietnamese killing dogs. Thousands of Taiwan activists gathered on November 2. They submitted a letter of complaint to Vietnam Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei, urging them to stop this disturbing practice. On November 4, a Vietnamese worker was found slaughtering street dogs at her employer’s apartment. To crack down on dog meat consumption in Taiwan, WDA promoted a legal ban on dog meat there. The Legislative Yuan finally amended Animal Protective Act with a provision on banning cat and dog meat on April 11, 2017. People who violate this provision will receive a fine of 250,000 TWD (about 8380 USD). Legislation is important, but implementing the law is also crucial. WDA has set up a team of 30 activists to help looking for evidence and report suspects to the police.
World Dog alliance, Legislator Huang Chao-shun, Apollo Chen, Wang Yu-Min and Li Yanxiu declared the establishment of “Animal Guardians”, which is devoted to enforce law against dog and cat meat consumption.
Explicit legislation against dog meat consumption
WDA is based in Hong Kong and has been registered in US and France. By promoting explicit legislation against dog meat consumption, WDA hopes that the world, especially those countries with habits of eating dogs, could safeguard human’s civilization with legislation against dog meat. WDA is currently promoting such legislation in US and South Korea. Progress has been seen after endeavor. The US House of Representatives has agreed to include the provision of banning cat and dog meat in the new Farm Bill. The Bill is waiting to be voted on the floor soon. The legislation in US plays an important role in the battle against dog meat consumption, as it can influence other countries. WDA held the International Conference on Banning Dog Meat in Seoul, South Korea, November 24, 2017. The conference was supported by many Congressmen, including Representative Pyo Chang-won, who promised to submit a proposal to the Congress. WDA is looking forward to good news on legislation against dog meat in South Korea.
Jason Pang，Program Director
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