VIETNAMESE AUTHORITIES CLAMP DOWN ON ILLEGAL IMPORTATION OF DOGS AND DOG MEAT
Laos-Vietnam Border Poster Campaign Aims to Help Eliminate Rabies by 2020
Ho Chi Minh City – 22nd May 2015 – Vietnamese authorities in Cao Treo, central Ha Tinh province, yesterday erected four large posters at the border crossing with Laos in an attempt to stop the illegal trafficking of dogs and dog meat into Vietnam. The posters warn smugglers that the law is clear; illegal importing and transporting of live dogs or dog meat is against the law, and will result in confiscation of the consignment and prosecution by law. The poster campaign was designed and financed by the Asia Canine Protection Alliance (ACPA), which is working with the Vietnamese government to help eliminate rabies in Vietnam by 2020.
ACPA spokesperson Le Duc Chinh said: “We know in the past that up to half a million dogs a year used to enter Vietnam through the Cao Treo border crossing point. They were taken to Hanoi to be served up in dog meat restaurants. Very few of the dogs would have been vaccinated against rabies, so they posed a really significant health risk. Today, the number coming through is substantially reduced, but any dog can carry the rabies virus, and therefore can pass it on to other dogs and humans”.
Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia and Laos have all committed to eliminating rabies in their countries by 2020, but there are widespread concerns about how realistic a goal this is. Le Duc Chinh added: “Technically it’s illegal in Vietnam to transport dogs from one province to another without proper documentation, and this measure was introduced in an attempt to stop rabies spreading across the country. However, the law is not enforced, and until it is, rabies will continue to spread. Vietnam has the laws, systems and processes in place to become free of rabies by 2020, but we are concerned that by not enforcing existing laws, it will not happen”.
ACPA also believes that stopping the consumption of dog meat in Vietnam is a necessary step to take in order to eliminate rabies. Le Duc Chinh added: “As long as there is demand for dog meat, there will be supply. And if Vietnam cannot supply the demand, there will always be illegal imports from neighbouring countries. And quite simply, we do not know the vaccine status of the dogs being smuggled in”.
A recent viral video produced by ACPA features a number of famous Vietnamese pop and dance stars, as well as movie directors, calling for an end to the dog meat trade in Vietnam. Focussing on the health issues, criminality aspects and animal cruelty factors, the video calls on people to sign a petition to the Vietnamese government to outlaw the dog meat trade. 440,000 signatures were presented to the National Assembly last week, in advance of their meeting on the Vietnamese Veterinary Bill. The viral video can be seen at http://www.baovecho.org/
Posted in ACPA News