Dogs and Cats Are Friends, Not Food

The words in the title are those of a campaign organised and managed by youngsters in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, whose objectives are to change the awareness of Vietnamese people to the fact that eating cat and dog meat is unacceptable in the 21st century. In is nice to report that change is taking place in Vietnam where cat and dog meat is still eaten.

Nguyen Hong Nhan, a member of the organising board of this campaign said:

We want to build a community where love for animals is spread widely and which helps young people to change their perceptions and actions.

Cat on leash in Vietnam
Cat on leash in Vietnam. The cat looks unhappy and overweight. Perhaps the person on the other end of the leash is fattening up his cat for his dinner. Picture in the public domain in my view.
Until September 7th I will give 10 cents to an animal charity for every comment. It is a way to help animal welfare without much effort at no cost. Comments help this website too, which is about animal welfare.

It appears that the attitudes of Vietnamese in Vietnam to eating cat and dog meat is changing with the younger generation. Fortunately some people in the older generation who have spent a lifetime eating cat and dog meat are also changing their habits. This time it is not a voluntary action on their behalf but the coronavirus pandemic which has forced a change. Although I am hopeful, we have to be at best cautiously optimistic because these cultural attitudes are hard to shift.

Some vendors of dog and cat in Ho Chi Minh City are finding that their sales have dropped significantly compared to the period before Covid-19. One example is Nguyen Cuong who lives in a hamlet called “kingdom of dog meat” (Nhat Tan hamlet). He had a habit of eating dog meat once a week with his friends but a few months ago he told them that he would give up his lifelong habit because, like many others, he was afraid that he would get the Covid-19 virus from eating it.

I was afraid when the Vietnamese news said that dog meat might be carrying diseases, just when we were going through the coronavirus outbreak. Therefore, I believe it’s time to stop eating the meat.

You see, there are some silver linings in the coronavirus crisis. Clearly a lot of the discussion about wet markets in China and the killing of wild animals at these markets, which allows viruses in wild animals to transmit to humans, has fed back into Vietnam and the Vietnamese news service. It takes that kind of shock to make fundamental changes to long-standing cultures.

Another campaign against eating cat and dog meat began in 2015 in Vietnam. It is called the “Ve di Vang oi” (Come home, Vang) campaign. It is supported by celebrities. It was launched by the Asia Canine Protection Alliance. The aim is to attract 1 million signatures and to promote compassion towards dogs and to end their consumption.

It’s reported that the consumption of cat and dog meat is declining in Vietnam and I hope that this is indeed the case. It appears that culture is fading with the elderly and the new generation of youngsters will bring with them the culture that cats and dogs are companion animals and not livestock which will see the end of this unpleasant cultural habit which is out of step with modern life.

As recently as 2015, The Daily Mail reported a boom in cat meat with pets being snatched off streets and sold to restaurants for £52. You wander whether the good news is genuine. Perhaps the coronavirus has kicked off a permanent change.

Some people will criticise me for having the temerity to “interfere in the affairs of a foreign country”. Well, I say the world is one. Globalisation is here to stay and we have a universal and international right to comment and campaign on these pressing matters of animal cruetly. Cat meat is the end product of cat cruelty.

My thanks to Elke Schwierz (German) writing on the Vietnamese Investment Review website which is the source of this article.

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