Soi Dog Foundation has launched yet another powerful anti-dog meat campaign, this time in one of Asia’s biggest hotbeds for the inhumane industry: Vietnam. Created in partnership with Asia Canine Protection Alliance, this latest video campaign calls on the country’s youth to sign a petition, and in doing so, pressure the Vietnamese government to outlaw the trade and ban the consumption of dogs in the country.
Similar to Soi Dog’s first campaign, which featured British celebrities speaking out against the trade in Thailand, the Vietnam version features some of the country’s most well-known pop and dance stars, music producers, and film directors, all calling for an end to the industry and explaining why it should be banned. You can watch a video from the campaign on Soi Dog’s Facebook page — Warning: The video features graphic and disturbing images of animal cruelty.
“Around 65 percent of the Vietnamese population is under the age of 30, [and] throughout Asia we are seeing a growing awareness among the younger generation of the need to protect the environment and of animal welfare in general,” explains John Dalley, Soi Dog co-founder and vice president. “Most of the stars involved in this campaign fit into that category. They were genuinely shocked when they were shown the evidence … [that] every aspect of this trade inflicts extreme cruelty on the animals involved.”
For this campaign, three videos with similar content but different messages were released. All were produced and directed by Bao Nguyen, one of Vietnam’s leading film directors.
While the Vietnamese people are very familiar with the practice of eating dogs, few dog meat consumers know what happens to the animals before they end up on their plates or about the nefarious issues surrounding the trade, explains Dalley.
“Dog and cat meat consumption in Vietnam is the largest in Asia outside of China,” says Dalley. “An estimated five to seven million dogs — most of them stolen pets — and an unknown number of cats are consumed every year. With our successful campaign to end the export of live dogs from Thailand, more dogs are being sourced within Vietnam to meet the demand. Besides its inherent cruelty, the pet meat trade also poses a serious health hazard to consumers. Diseases such as rabies, cholera, and trichinosis can be passed on to humans by either handling infected meat or consuming it.”
In addition to health risks, this barbaric industry also promotes crime and violence. Dog snatching has become a major problem in Vietnam, with gangs of dog thieves regularly stealing family pets from streets and backyards throughout the country. Since a dog can be sold to a slaughterhouse for up to $50, dog snatching can be a very lucrative business. But while dog owners have been fighting back, with angry lynch mobs sometimes killing dog thieves, a number of owners have also been murdered defending their pets, explains Dalley.
While change doesn’t happen overnight, strong public awareness campaigns using famous spokespeople can indeed work wonders. Late last year, Soi Dog’s Thailand campaign played a significant role in pressuring the Thai government to enact the country’s first animal welfare law, which has so far resulted in several anti-dog meat and animal cruelty prosecutions.
Dalley hopes for a similar result in Vietnam. It’s no accident that this campaign was launched just as the Vietnamese government prepares to review the country’s weak animal welfare law, aka the “Veterinary Bill.” The hope is that public pressure fueled by the Soi Dog/ACPA campaign will encourage the government to strengthen the law so it actually addresses animal cruelty, including the dog and cat meat trade.
Along with the video campaign, rallies and meetings will be held around Vietnam in an additional effort to raise public awareness about the trade while helping to generate one million petition signatures. Since the campaign’s launch on April 14, the petition has garnered more than 200,000 Vietnamese signatures, most within the first 48 hours, boasts Dalley.
“This is the first part of an ongoing campaign within Vietnam to change public perception [about the dog meat trade],” says Dalley. “Only if enough Vietnamese demand it will the laws be changed. We have succeeded in getting the law changed in Thailand, where eating dogs and cats and other animals not considered food is illegal, and that is the objective now in Vietnam.”
Read more about the dog meat trade on Dogster:
About the author: Lisa Plummer Savas is a freelance writer, journalist, devoted dog mom, and animal activist. In an effort to help make the world a more compassionate place for non-human species, she is especially focused on using her writing to spread awareness about animal welfare and cruelty issues. She lives in Atlanta with two spoiled German Shepherds, one very entitled Pug, and a very patient, understanding husband. Read more of her work by visiting her blog and website.