Global animal-welfare organisation FOUR PAWS succeeded in shutting down a cat-meat restaurant and associated slaughterhouse in Vietnam for the first time ever on 15 December, rescuing 25 animals including five dogs set for slaughter. The restaurant was located in the city of Thai Binh, notorious for cat-meat consumption, and claimed to serve around 240 animals a month, mostly cats.
The restaurant in Thai Binh – specialising in cat and dog-meat dishes – first came to the attention of the FOUR PAWS team following their nationwide research into the cat-meat trade, which started in 2019. The restaurant owners, a Vietnamese couple, expressed their desperation to get out of the trade due to a desire to no longer kill animals. FOUR PAWS and Change for Animals Foundation is helping the couple set up a second-hand motorbike shop with the condition that they will never again engage in the cat and dog-meat trade and that they will help FOUR PAWS identify and close similar restaurants in the area. The restaurant in Thai Binh was profitable, popular among locals and workers for their lunch to-go boxes. Since eating dog and cat-meat is often associated with various superstitions and the lunar cycle, the demand for cat and dog-meat fluctuated depending on the lunar calendar.
For the restaurant closure, rescue, and successful rehoming of the animals, FOUR PAWS and Change for Animals Foundation worked with local members of the Cats Matter Too coalition, including Hanoi Pet Rescue, Paws for Compassion and Vietnam Cat Welfare. To put a sustainable end to the cruel dog and cat-meat trade in Southeast Asia, FOUR PAWS has also launched a campaign on an international and national level. More than one million people worldwide have already signed the petition to end the dog and cat-meat trade, including 200,000 Vietnamese. “Through education and cooperation with the responsible authorities and tourism associations, the aim is to urge governments to introduce and enforce legislation banning the dog and cat-meat trade to protect both animals and public health. This closure demonstrates that times are changing in Vietnam, with more and more pet owners and young people in Vietnam speaking out against the trade, and even the owners of restaurants themselves no longer wanting to be involved in it. We hope the closure of this restaurant and slaughterhouse is the first of many in Vietnam”, explains Dr Karanvir Kukreja, veterinarian and project manager of FOUR PAWS international campaign.
Here are some photos about the closure and rescue on 15 Dec: