NEWS/OPINION: You may have heard about the Vietnamese cat meat restaurant in Vietnam owned by Pham Quoc Doanh. I am pleased that the news media has picked up on his feelings about what he did over the years. It might shed some light on the cat meat culture of Vietnam.
But there’s change afoot. Many people in Vietnam don’t like cat meat and many don’t eat it. I sense a gradual groundswell of opinion against cat meat and cat meat restaurants which is partly why his restaurant has been closed. This change is probably due to websites like mine! And general internet articles on the topic from the West. It is about education.
He was encouraged to make that final step by the Humane Society International who offered him a way out in an enlightened move. They made a deal with Doanh in which they gave him a grant to open a grocery store and to close his restaurant which had been operating for five years.
And here’s what Doanh said about his restaurant operation:
For a while now I have felt a genuine desire to leave the cruel cat meat business… I think of all the thousands of cats I’ve slaughtered and served up here over the years, it’s upsetting.
Cat theft is so common in Vietnam that I know many of the cats sold here were someone’s loved family companion, and I feel very sorry about that,
It seems that the Humane Society International has used the closure of this restaurant to promote the cessation of cat meat eating in Vietnam. They seem to have encouraged Doanh to make these statements against the trade. Although I’m sure they are generally felt.
It does prove if proof were needed that the cat meat businesses steal people’s pets on the street and from backyards.They don’t just seize and kill stray, feral or community cats. They are engaged in widespread theft which is unenforced by the police.
The truth is that nowadays most Vietnamese people don’t eat cat meat but there is still this cultural belief based on superstition and without any scientific support that cat meat is some kind of medicinal cure for ailments such as arthritis. And that eating it can bring good luck. There is no doubt in my mind that a key factor in stopping the cat meat industry in Vietnam is to break this cultural superstition through education. Long-term education will unravel this cultural anomaly which is out of place in the 21st century.
I am sensitive towards other people’s cultures but when it comes to animal cruelty it’s a universal problem and we all have a right to intervene in my view and the internet has no country borders. The cat meat businesses are cruel. All the cats that Doanh served up to his customers for lunch and dinner, were drowned in a bucket – I guess one at a time. And by hand. Imagine doing that. He did it 300 times a month to serve cat broth and other meat dishes.
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