A Meat and Dairy Article from All-Creatures.org

Owner Of Dog Slaughterhouse In Vietnam Closes Business For Good After Change Of Heart

From Paul Healey, SpeciesUnite.com
November 2023

Mr Hung had bought and slaughtered up to 20,000 dogs over the past seven years, but said the dog meat trade broke his heart and weighed too heavily on his conscience to continue any longer.

rescued dogs
One of the 44 remaining dogs who were rescued from the facility. Credit: Chau Doan/AP Images for HSI

A dog meat fattening facility and slaughterhouse in Vietnam has closed down for good after its owner had a change of heart.

Based in Thai Nyguyen, Mr Hung’s facility had bought, sold, and slaughtered up to 20,000 dogs for the meat trade over the past seven years.

Killing the animals weighed heavily on Mr Hung’s conscience, and he was relieved when he discovered the Humane Society International’s (HSI) Models for Change program, which helps support and facilitate business owners in the dog meat trade who want to exit the industry.

After reaching out to the program, HSI’s rescue team visited Mr Hung’s facility and removed the remaining 44 dogs, including 19 puppies who were just days old.

Before the facility closed, Mr Hung would be delivered around 50 puppies every one or two months from local traders, who source the puppies from rural communities by traveling from village to village.

At the facility, the puppies would then be kept in filthy cages without veterinary care and fattened up for several weeks or months until they were ready for slaughter.

dog meat cages

Mr Hung sold the dogs to local slaughterhouses and restaurants, but he also killed one or two dogs himself every day, with a knife to the jugular or heart, in full view of other dogs. HSI say that this cycle of suffering and brutality eventually broke Mr Hung’s Heart.

In an emotional statement, Mr Hung explained to HSI’s team that “I looked into their pleading eyes and saw their tails nervously wagging as I approached, and each time it got harder to do. They came to me as happy little puppies so full of life, but soon became traumatized and afraid. It just broke my heart in the end. Dogs are so loyal and friendly, selling or killing them felt like a betrayal that weighed heavily on my conscience.”

“When I heard that HSI’s Models for Change program had helped another trader in Thai Nguyen close his dog meat slaughterhouse and restaurant last year, I was relieved to know there was a way for me to start my life over without having to kill animals for a living. I’m excited for my new business and to know that all my dogs will have the happy life they deserve with families who will look after them.”

Relieved to no longer have to kill animals for profit, Mr Hung now plans to open an agricultural store for crop farming in the local community.

And the 19 rescued puppies were taken by HSI to a custom-made shelter at the local University of Agriculture and Forestry, where they were vaccinated against rabies, and will receive medical care and rehabilitation before being made available for local adoption.

Vietnam’s Dog Meat Trade

In Vietnam, figures estimate that five million dogs and one million cats are slaughtered each year for their meat.

According to HSI, most of the slaughtered dogs are stolen pets or strays snatched from the streets using poison bait, painful taser guns, pincers or ropes, or imported from surrounding countries such as Cambodia.

The sale and consumption of dog meat is not illegal in Vietnam, but there are punishable offenses for unregulated trans-provincial movement of dogs and pet thefts.

“While dog meat remains prevalent in some parts of the country, there is also increasing opposition to the practice among the rising pet loving population in Vietnam who are frustrated by the lack of action taken against unscrupulous dog thieves and traders who steal people’s beloved companions”, says Phuong Tham, Humane Society International’s Vietnam country director.

Despite there being no scientific evidence, some consumers believe that dog meat has medicinal properties and can increase male virility. Contrary to popular belief, dog meat is not an expensive delicacy, but costs around 150,000 - 200,00 VND ($6 - $8) per dish.

Positive Progress Against the Global Dog Meat Trade

An estimated 30 million dogs are killed for human consumption every year across Asia, according to Humane Society International. This includes around 10-20 million dogs that are slaughtered in China, 2 million in South Korea, 1 million in Indonesia, and around 5 million in Vietnam.

However, support for the trade is on the decline, and there is a growing animal protection movement across Asia that opposes the consumption of dog and cat meat.

This trend has been reflected in the growing number of government bans on the practise in recent years.

In 2020, Shenzhen became the first city in China to ban the consumption of dog and cat meat, and the Indian state of Nagaland, infamous for its ‘hidden’ dog meat trade, also recently announced a complete ban along with heightened legal enforcement.

Perhaps most notably, campaigners welcomed a “watershed” moment in the fight against the dog meat trade when the Indonesian capital city of Jakarta, South-East Asia’s biggest city, outlawed the dog and cat meat trade earlier this year.

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