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Hanoi Mulls Use of GPS Dog Tags to Prevent Theft

Hanoi’s recently launched campaign against dog meat continues to develop, as public officials consider implementing a new proposal in an attempt to reduce dog theft in the city.

The project, which was devised by Hanoi’s Animal Health Department in collaboration with two unnamed foreign NGOs, proposes tagging city dogs with geographic positioning chips on their ears and collars, VnExpress reports.

The chips would contain information such as the animal's birth year, identifying features and vaccination status. The chip would allow police to be able to track the animal's location if it was stolen.

“It’s like how motorbikes have number plates on them,” Nguyen Ngoc Son, the head of the Animal Health Department, told the news outlet.

Dog theft is rampant in Vietnam, although it's rarely treated as a crime unless the dog is valued at more than VND2 million (US$85). Many are concerned about the brutal treatment of dogs who are stolen and sold as food in restaurants. 

For many, the meat is still considered a delicacy. The domestic market for dog meat is second only to China, with Vietnamese consuming an estimated five million dogs per year.

Hanoians are said to have the most household pets nationwide. Despite this, nearly 13% of dogs in the city are thought to be bred for sale or consumption. Estimates suggest that nearly 1,000 vendors in the city still sell dog meat.

The announcement is part of a larger campaign the city has launched to encourage residents to stop eating dog meat. In September, city officials issued a statement claiming the practice tarnishes the capital's image.

"The city wants people to see the value in treating animals humanely," the municipal People’s Committee said in a statement to the news source. The proposal is expected to be brought forward to the city’s administration for approval next year.

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