Vietnam Establishes First Ever Dog and Cat Meat-Free Tourist-Friendly City

FOUR PAWS welcomes Hoi An City People’s Committee’s progressive actions to protect dogs, cats, and people

Vietnam – In a historic agreement the Hoi An city People’s Committee in Vietnam has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to phase out dog and cat meat from the city. Over the past year they have worked together with FOUR PAWS, the global animal welfare organisation, on the agreement.

This will be the first time in Vietnam that a city takes such comprehensive action to end the dog and cat meat trade. The two-year agreement will begin in late 2021.

It will also improve companion animal welfare through rabies vaccination and sterilization programs and help with preventing further pandemics.

Hoi An is a city in Central Vietnam, well known by tourists for its Ancient Town, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

It will now also be able to promote itself as Vietnam’s first-ever “dog and cat meat trade free, tourist-friendly city” – through taking action to eradicate rabies through vaccination, providing spay and neuter services for animals in their community, and enforcing laws and regulations to help phase out the dog and cat meat trade and associated activities.

As we know the dog and cat meat trade also affects international reputation, with stakeholders throughout Asia increasingly taking a stand against it, the MoU will ensure this is a step in the right direction to dispel such images and myths.

Despite the rampant trade in dogs and cats for meat in Vietnam, market research done by FOUR PAWS has demonstrated that only 6.3% of Vietnamese consume dog or cat meat, and that 88% of the public supported a ban on the sale of both dog and cat meat by the government.

As we have seen with regards to the pandemic animal welfare needs to be addressed.

About 75% of new infectious diseases have a zoonotic origin. FOUR PAWS has been working closely with government agencies across the region advocating for a ban on dog and cat meat, due to the extreme animal cruelty involved and public health risk, largely due to rabies and the spread of zoonotic diseases. The recent developments are seen as a crucial turning point for animal welfare in the region.

The Hoi An People’s Committee recognizes that rabies eradication will not be possible without tackling the dog and cat meat trade. Other activities included in this Memorandum of Understanding includes a local public awareness campaign and rescue of animals from the dog and cat meat trade.

FOUR PAWS is delighted that the MoU has finally been signed.

FOUR PAWS has been engaging with the Hoi An People’s Committee for more than a year following an expression of interest in rabies eradication, improving animal welfare, and promoting its image as a world-class tourism destination.

Vietnam Establishes First Ever Dog and Cat Meat-Free Tourist-Friendly City
A historic handshake between Hoi An People’s Committee
with FOUR PAWS International to phase out dog and cat meat from the city.

Julie Sanders, Director of Companion Animals for FOUR PAWS, explains, “This is a pivotal and watershed moment in Vietnam and in the region. Every year in Vietnam, more than five million dogs and a million cats are trafficked and slaughtered for their meat, jeopardizing animal welfare and public health. Hoi An is now an example for other towns and cities across Vietnam to follow suit.”

Mr. Nguyen The Hung, Vice Chairman of Hoi An City People’s Committee said, “Animal welfare is important to both international and local tourists. Especially, as companion animals are becoming increasingly seen as family members in Vietnam. As a popular tourism destination, we want to help promote animal welfare through rabies eradication, phasing out the dog and cat meat trade, and making the city a premier destination for tourism.”

Vietnam Establishes First Ever Dog and Cat Meat-Free Tourist-Friendly City
Hoi An now could promote itself as Vietnam’s first-ever “dog and cat meat trade free, tourist-friendly city”.

DISCOVA, specialists in travel across Southeast Asia , welcomed the major agreement which they believe will only be of benefit to not only Hoi An, but Vietnam as a whole for tourism and trade.

“We welcome the actions by the People’s Committee of Hoi An to end the dog and cat meat trade to ensure this city is tourist-friendly. DISCOVA strives to ensure both people and animals in the destinations we visit are protected from harm, which is the essence of the Memorandum of Understanding being signed today. We congratulate FOUR PAWS for its dedication to the protection of animals and look forward to the day when all Vietnam is dog and cat meat trade free.”

Vietnamese pop singer, Van Mai Huong, has been a vocal advocate in ending this cruel trade, attended the signing and said, “I am proud to be a part of the event today in ensuring that Vietnam begins its journey to ending the dog and cat meat trade. This is not who we are as a society, dogs and cats are part of our families and communities.

“This agreement is such an important step forwards in the campaign that FOUR PAWS have spearheaded since 2019. Now we must use this as a major steppingstone and urge the government to take responsibility and ban the dog and cat meat trade to protect humans and animals alike.”

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