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Hanoi Starts Campaign to Deter Dog Meat Trade, Consumption

Hanoi leaders are asking residents to stop eating dog and cat meat in an effort to improve Hanoi's image and avoid diseases like rabies.

The Associated Press reports that on Tuesday, Vice Mayor Nguyen Van Suu released a message saying that the butchering and consumption of dogs and cats disturbs foreign visitors and hurts the capital's image as a modern city.

Suu has also ordered local officials to raise awareness regarding the threat of rabies from consuming improperly cooked dog or cat meat, as Vietnam aims to completely eradicate the disease by 2021.

According to Thanh Nien, the Hanoi People’s Committee issued a document on September 10 ordering relevant government agencies and district officials to tighten the management of commercial businesses that rear, sell and serve dog and cat meats within the city premise.

In an interview with the newspaper, Doan Hong Phong, deputy director of the Hanoi Veterinary Department, shared that the city wants local authorities to come up with plans to slowly put the practice to rest.

Specifically, suburban districts and towns must limit rearing and butchering dogs and cats commercially while central localities must limit the selling of their meat. The goal of the effort is to stop the selling of dog and cat meats in inner districts by 2021 while discouraging local residents from consumption.

“In my observation, nowadays, people don’t have a lot of demand for dog meat like before,” Phong added in Vietnamese. “If we persevere, we will have their support in convincing locals to stop eating dog meat and treating animals humanely.”

According to AFP, the document from Hanoi authorities states: "The trading, killing and use of dog and cat meat has brought on a negative reaction from tourists and expatriates living in Hanoi."

It is estimated that Hanoi is home to almost 500,000 dogs and cats, as well as around 1,000 restaurants and shops which sell their meat.

Nguyen Thi Minh, who has owned a dog meat restaurant in the city for over two decades, told AP: "People eat dog meat and there's no problem. I serve customers from South Korea, the United States and other countries."

Vietnam's dog meat consumption has made it the target of animal welfare campaigns in the past, and the Asia Canine Protection Alliance estimates that five million of the animals are killed and eaten in the country every year.

[Photo via Wikimedia]

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