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Vietnam Establishes First-Ever Animal Protection Association

Following the decision of the Ministry of Home Affairs in November, the Vietnam Animal Welfare Association was officially established during a ceremony on February 3rd in Da Nang.

The association's main purpose, according to Nguyen Xuan Duong  – deputy head of the Department of Livestock Production of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development – is to prevent and assist investigations related to violence against animals, Tuoi Tre reports.

The association's responsibilities include organizing social investigations, gathering public opinions, providing consultations to individuals and organizations regarding many aspects of animal rights, providing policy suggestions, offering classes and conferences, and leading initiatives aimed at raising the bar for animal protection in Vietnam.

The association's first meeting acknowledged recent public outrage over issues such as exploitative animal farming for bear bile and dog meat, animal sacrifices, and the killing of animals at festivals for the sake of entertainment. The meeting also noted the country's general low awareness of animal welfare matters.

According to Professor Le Thi Thuy, the association's director and campaigner, "The association will protect animal rights, with both considerations to guidelines laid out by many international animal welfare organizations and the traditional customs of different ethnic groups in the country. Thus the existence of such association is of urgent need."

In related news, the US Embassy also established a new Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) in Hanoi on February 5. The agency, part of the United States Department of Agriculture, seeks to facilitate Vietnam’s agricultural trade by making sure that local produce meets international standards.

[Photo via Tuoi Tre]

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