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Vietnam Imposes Ban on Gruesome Animal Killings at Festivals

Vietnam’s Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism recently ordered a ban on all violent and offensive performances during spring festivals, including rituals involving the slaughter of animals.

One such ritual takes place in Bac Ninh province’s Nem Thuong Village, where villagers kill two pigs to pray for good crops and health during their annual spring festival, reports VnExpress. In recent years, the tradition has sparked anger among animal rights groups.

As part of the festival, Nem Thuong residents tie up two live pigs and parade them around the village before chopping them in half. Villagers then come to collect fresh blood to dip their money in and bring home to place atop their altars as an offering.

Photo via IB Times.

Hong Kong-based Animals Asia Foundation has campaigned for years to raise awareness of such festivals among the general public and Vietnamese authorities, while some key government officials have also condemned the practice. However Bac Ninh authorities have, until now, only forbidden the practice of soaking money in blood, and now require the execution of the pigs take place outside of public view.

In recent years, spring festivals have become a site of violence, as overly enthusiastic attendees often clash with one another while partaking in the festivities. This past February, for instance, a traditional festival honoring Vietnamese general Thieu Hoa, who fought alongside the Trung sisters, devolved into chaos as thousands of young men wrestled one another in an effort to win a festival game. Several people suffered injuries in the resulting mob.

Officials of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism have also asked local authorities to stop all fighting, gambling and begging at upcoming festivals, however the sheer number and the size of these festivals means authorities have their work cut out for them. Government officials are also asking localities to scale back the number of festival attendees at their events.

Whether as part of a festival or not, animal rights in Vietnam are under scrutiny thanks to a handful of high-profile issues, from the illegal wildlife trade to dog meat to the general conservation of Vietnam’s many endemic species. Just last month, international organizations called Vietnam out for its inaction against rhino horn traders, proposing possible sanctions for the country’s weak enforcement of wildlife trafficking regulations. While these issues remain a challenge for local authorities to overcome, the ban on animal slaughter at festivals is a step in the right direction.

[Photo via Tuoi Tre]

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