The Vietnamese cat meat trade is horrible by any standards. Three million cats, many of them domestic cats (stolen pets), are killed in various inhumane ways before being skinned, disembowelled and eaten because some Vietnamese believe that they provide a particular health benefit when they don’t other than providing them with meat and protein like any other animal.
Let’s just remind ourselves that the deal between domestic cats and humans is that we look after them and they provide us with company. There are no other terms to the deal. The deal does not allow us to slaughter them imhumanely and eat them.
I have to address the cultural issues. I know we have to be respectful of another country’s culture. I also know that we shouldn’t interfere in general in another country’s affairs. However, when those affairs include mass animal abuse, in my mind, it transcends these basic rules and it becomes an international issue.
Having got that introduction out of the way to set the scene, the only way you’re going to stop the cat meat trade in Vietnam is to apply pressure internationally. That would require a country such as America electing an animal loving president with a genuine passion for animal welfare.
In short, someone who is more or less opposite to President Trump whose sons like to go trophy hunting. And the Trump administration has loosened up the hunting of bears in Alaska allowing hunters to shoot hibernating parents and cubs in their dens. What kind of human behaviour is that?
So you elect an animal loving president and he treatens to terminate the exports from Vietnam to the USA which amount to $33 billion at the time of this article unless Vietnam bans cat meat by law. The GDP of Vietnam is US$62 billion. Therefore, Vietnam’s exports to America account for thirteen percent of their GDP. This is a large percentage and significant. It would hurt tremendously to ban imports from Vietnam into America. I know it would be impractical politically. It would take an extraordinary act of courage by a American president and his or her administration. Also, I don’t know whether such an act could be carried out under an executive order rather than going through the legislature.
I’m just making a point. That point is that you have to apply strong international pressure to change a firmly fixed culture in a country which is expressed in this instance in mass animal abuse of the most gruesome kind. And I’m not referring to the actual eating of cat meat. I am referring to the way the cats are killed. There are no regulations regarding this. There are no regulations at all regarding the cat meat trade in Vietnam. It’s a free for all.
The problem is that nobody really cares. I know that because nobody reads these articles. They really don’t. The odd person reads them but they are unpopular. I still write them because I am passionate about animal welfare. We have to deal with these issues. We can’t brush them under the carpet and forget about them just because there are thousands of miles away.