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‘It’s just a type of food’: Many oppose banning dog meat in Vietnam

‘It’s just a type of food’: Many oppose banning dog meat in Vietnam

Tuesday, January 16, 2024, 10:45 GMT+7
‘It’s just a type of food’: Many oppose banning dog meat in Vietnam
A dog breastfeeds its puppies. Photo: M. Dung / Tuoi Tre

Eating dog meat is a widespread practice in various parts of Vietnam, deeply rooted in a long-standing tradition. Consequently, when the question of whether to ban this practice arises, a significant number of people respond with a firm ‘no.’ 

This sentiment was evident in the comment section under a recent article by Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper, where a considerable number of readers expressed their disapproval, providing various reasons for their stance.

Several endorsed the viewpoint that dog meat is food.

A reader named Duong Van Ngoc compared dog meat to other livestock and poultry, all similarly serving as both pets and sources of meat and trade.

Meanwhile, another reader named Thanh Hieu highlighted, “It’s essential to recognize that dogs and cats are part of the natural food chain and aren’t endangered species.”

In Hieu’s opinion, whether people of a nation eat dog meat or not does not inherently reflect the civilization or culture of their country.

Some others oppose the notion of Vietnam banning the consumption of dog meat, saying it represents a dangerous form of cultural imperialism, prioritizing foreign sensibilities over Vietnamese traditions.

“Why impose a ban? While I personally don’t favor consuming dog meat, I don’t endorse a blanket prohibition. Why should Vietnam conform to the preferences of the West? Instead, it is crucial to regulate objectionable practices, such as not openly displaying whole slaughtered dogs and transporting newly-butchered dogs in closed containers,” said a reader who declared themselves as le thanh tan.

Recounting her visit to Zurich, a user named Juile said that she was told that some local farmers still consume their dogs’ meat, though it is not widely sold.

Juile elaborated that there is no outright ban on people eating dog meat in the entirety of Switzerland and Canada.

“Let those who enjoy it consume it; if others don’t, that’s okay. Banning it is not a viable solution,” the reader commented.

User le to ngoc highlighted the importance of tackling uncontrolled stray dog populations in Vietnam, which not only pose a safety risk to residents but could also negatively impact the country's image in the eyes of international visitors.

“How come dog defecation is normalized?” the user exclaimed.

The user further argued that eating dog meat is deemed 'harmful,' as is consuming other meats without proper medical supervision. 

“My friend keeps pigs as pets. Would you propose a ban on eating pork?” the user wrote.

“To promote a civilized approach, we should consider a broader prohibition on all meats, including cattle, pigs, chickens, birds, and fish, given they are all living animals. Crafting reasons for such a ban is easy, isn’t it?” a user named Chris Nguyen mocked supporters of the dog meat ban, who cited civilization as one of the reasons.

In general, the readers agreed on one point: it is challenging to abandon dog meat.

According to a reader known as Binh Tran, dog meat is currently a type of food with no legal ground for its consumption in Vietnam.

Therefore, encouraging people to abstain from eating it is more feasible than a complete ban.

“Dogs and cats can easily expand in quantity; banning their meat might lead to increased diseases from these animals, posing unpredictable consequences,” Binh Tran added.

“Issuing a ban on dog meat establishments and deploying regular patrols for market surveillance officers to enforce fines seem like a simplistic solution, but that is easier said than done,” a reader named Viet commented.

Meanwhile, Duong Van Ngoc said that encouraging restrictions on consuming dog and cat meat might be suitable primarily in urban areas frequented by foreign tourists or designated tourist destinations.

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Anh Lac / Tuoi Tre News

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