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Up To Five Million Dogs Are Slaughtered In Vietnam Every Year For Human Consumption. As The Country Gets Tough On Illegal Dog Trading, Is This Finally The Death Toll For The Dog Meat Trade?

dogs cagecreativecommons.org/Brett McBain

Vietnam has taken a huge step to put an end to the cruel and inhumane dog meat trade.

Animal rights activists are welcoming a new directive by the country’s Department of Animal Health (DAH) that orders provincial authorities to crack down on the illegal trafficking of dogs for human consumption.

The move follows a ground-breaking meeting in Hanoi last August, when members of the Asia Canine Protection Alliance (ACPA) met with the authorities of Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia and Laos and agreed to consider a five-year moratorium on the commercial transport of dogs from one country to another. The ACPA is a coalition of animal welfare groups made up of Change For Animals Foundation, Humane Society International, Animals Asia and Soi Dog Foundation.

As concerns about the spread of rabies in the region rise, the directive specifically instructs DAH sub-departments to strengthen the inspection and prevention of illegal import, transport and trade of animals or animal products. The government has also instructed the DAH to work with international organisations to raise awareness about the dangers of consuming dog meat.

It is estimated that up to five million dogs are slaughtered in Vietnam every year for human consumption.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has pledged to wipe out rabies in the region by 2020. Rabies is responsible for the deaths of up to 29,000 people in Asia every year, and it can’t be eliminated from the region without the provincial authorities stepping in to stop illegal dog trafficking.

This new directive could not only halt the spread of rabies – it could also potentially prevent the intense suffering of thousands of dogs.

“The dog meat trade has long been characterised by cruelty and corruption,” explained Tuan Bendixsen, Vietnam director for Animals Asia. “Companion animals and strays are snatched and crammed into cages to be transported long distances. Their proximity and lack of care means diseases are rife. They are dangerous to those who choose to eat them and dangerous to anyone who comes into contact with them."

Given that the dog meat trade involves the only current mass movement of known or suspected rabies-infected dogs, there is a strong argument to stop the cycle of infection by banning this trade entirely.

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