Given the pledge made by countries throughout the region to eliminate rabies, a disease which causes substantial economic, human health and animal welfare impacts, by the year 2020, ACPA is working to build collaborative relationships with the governments of Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos to strengthen and enforce existing regulations which can serve to prohibit the trade.
Since 2013, ACPA has held several key meetings with government officials and human and animal health experts. In Hanoi in 2013, the governments of Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia agreed to a five year moratorium on the international commercial trade in dogs for consumption, in recognition of the risk the trade poses to the governments’ significant investment in, and commitment to, rabies elimination.
Following this commitment, in January 2014, Vietnam’s Department of Animal Health (DAH) issued a directive ordering provincial authorities to crack down on the illegal trafficking of dogs for human consumption and to collaborate with international organisations to raise awareness about the illegality of much of the cross border trade and of dangers of consuming dog meat. This move was followed by the government of Laos drafting strict guidelines to control the movement of dogs, stating that no licenses will be granted for the trade in dogs for commercial purposes.
In Bangkok in 2014, further commitment for cross-border collaboration to end the trade in dogs for meat was pledged by the governments.
And it’s working!
The trade in dogs from Thailand (via Laos) to Vietnam is declining! In 2013, an estimated 300,000 dogs every year were being illegally smuggled into Vietnam from Thailand, but this has now reduced, with growing political concern for the role the trade is playing in disease transmission.