The commonly held belief about a dog’s place in American life is that of a companion animal, or even a family member. However, in some parts of the world, dogs are another source of food, just as many in the U.S. view a cow or a chicken.

The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) reports that an estimated 25 million dogs are killed worldwide to become food every year. In parts of Asia, tradition dictates that dogs (and cats) are part of the human diet.

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Thankfully, the tide is starting to turn. Organizations like Animals Asia are dedicated to ending the cat and dog meat trade through its Cat and Dog Welfare program which includes our Friends or Food and Animal Therapy campaigns.

China has seen the rise of Animals Asia’s “Say No to Cat and Dog Meat Campaign” that focuses on the themes of “Partner in Growth,” “Guardian,” and “Stray,” which advise Chinese consumers to “Be Healthy. Say No to Cat and Dog Meat.” Even back in 2011, protests in China led to the ban of a “600-year-old dog meat festival, where around 15,000 dogs were due to be boiled alive, butchered, and then eaten over a period of three days in October.”

Now, according to Humane Society International (HSI), Vietnam has implemented a directive that “has banned the cross border trade of dogs for consumption into Vietnam. This is a big step, since Vietnam consumes 5 million dogs a year and many are illegally taken and cruelly transported from Thailand.”

As quoted in an HSI press release, Tuan Bendixsen, Vietnam director for Animals Asia said, “The dog meat trade has long been characterized by cruelty and corruption. Companion animals and strays are snatched and crammed into cages to be transported long distances. Their proximity and lack of care means diseases are rife. They are dangerous to those who choose to eat them and dangerous to anyone who comes into contact with them. Vietnam has long been the destination for trafficked dogs, from surrounding countries – if governments are serious about stopping trafficking then the corrupt and unregulated dog industry is the obvious place to start.”

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And it seems as though the government is serious. Vietnam’s Department of Animal Health (DAH) has given specific instructions to sub departments to “strengthen the inspection and prevention of illegal import, transport and trade of animals or animal products. The government has also instructed the DAH to work with international organizations to raise awareness about the dangers of consuming dog meat, and the illegality of much of the cross-border trade.”

This move is a great step for public health, public safety, and building respect for all animals.

Image Source: Andrea Schaffer/Flickr

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