Dog meat and dog restaurants in Vietnam and around the world
Every year, hundreds of thousand of pets are snatched in Thailand, then smuggled into Vietnam. The increased demand for dog meat in the Vietnamese market means that a higher number of dogs are killed every year in order to satisfy all the consumers. Up to now, eating dog meat is still a big business in Vietnam, it might sound incredible and disgusting for many but it’s the unfortunate truth. At this time, 5 million dogs are killed for meat every year. Across the world, 11 countries still eat dog meat: China, Indonesia, Korea, Mexico, Philippines, Polynesia, Taiwan, Vietnam, the Arctic and Antarctic and two cantons in Switzerland. No one knows exactly when Vietnamese people started eating dogs, but the consumption of dog meat is primarily in the North where it comes from a long tradition and where it is increasingly popular. Restaurants serving dog meat in Vietnam are considered as a good choice for drinking out and celebrating with friends. Dog meat is considered to have a “great taste”, as it is a rich source of protein, and quite cheap if you compare the amount of meat you get for your money (Beef, while popular in Vietnam is still quite expensive here). It is very easy to find a restaurant specialized in dog meat in Vietnam, especially in Ha Noi where this custom originates from.
Eating dog meat, a local delicacy?
People in Vietnam can cook creatively many different kinds of dishes where dog meat is the main ingredient. These dishes are very appealing to many people who have no guilt in eating dog meat.
Some Vietnamese people do not like eating dog meat because they feel they are committing a sin since they practice a religion such as Buddhism. As a result, there are often heavy discussions between the protester who are animal lovers and the people who eat dog meat.
The problem here is the source of dog meat, dogs are not cattle or poultry which can be fed and supplied as meat for human consumption, at least not in Vietnam. Most of them are smuggled from Thailand, Cambodia, or China to the black market, they have to be stuffed into narrow cages and endure very long and bumpy roads. Once they arrive at destination, they are to be served as food in restaurants. Statistics say that seven tons of live dogs are shipped to the nation’s capital Hanoi every day.
Eating dog meat in Vietnam: How thieves steal dogs from their owners
Certainly there is also a domestic source which is actually dog-thieves. They use specific tools to catch dogs and they will not hesitate to hurt the owner if they are detected. In the countryside, many houses have dogs as pets. On a road in Nghe An province, almost 300 dogs have been stolen over the last few months even though several dog thieves were beaten to death by angry mobs. This behavior can be easily understood, as many owners consider dogs like friends, a part of their family and not just having a security role. If the thieves are arrested by the police, they usually get off easily without even a fine or probation if it is their first offence. I hope this little article can give you an overview about the dog meat industry in Vietnam.