Dogs And Cats Off The Menu

News articles and blogs 2010



23rd July 2010 - Thanh Nien News - HCMC official calls for regulation on dog meat trade- Regulations on the trade and processing of dog meat have been awaiting government action for over a year, according to a Ho Chi Minh City animal health official. In the meantime, the popular food item continues to pose grave public health risks. "We are not encouraging dog meat consumption but we need regulations to ensure food safety for the current situation [dog meat demand]," Phan Xuan Thao, head of HCMC Animal Health Agency, told Thanh Nien Weekly on July 19. A survey conducted last year by Thao's agency identified around 175 restaurants and eateries in HCMC that served dog meat daily. At that time, the agency found up to 350 dogs were being slaughtered per day to meet city demand. Early last year, the city's Animal Health Agency produced draft regulations that would require strict inspections of dog processing - from the farming to the slaughtering of the animals. According to Thao, the regulations also contained stipulations on the trade of the meat. "[Dogs killed for human consumption] must have a clear origin," Thao said. "They must be vaccinated against rabies and other diseases and quarantined 15 days before being slaughtered," he said.

While the regulations await action from central authorities, the industry remains largely unregulated.

In Vietnam, dog meat has long been considered a tasty drinking food with traditional health properties. A study conducted by a Thai researcher from Chulalonkorn University estimated that as many as 30,000 dogs are trafficked from Thailand to Vietnam every month along a single road. At the moment, Vietnamese laws only require that dogs slaughtered for consumption have a certificate of origin and proof of rabies vaccination. However, a 2007 study by the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology showed that 20 percent of sick dogs tested in Hanoi area slaughterhouses tested positive for rabies.

Meanwhile, the city's enforcement wing bears a heavy load. Thao and his officials are only permitted to inspect vaccination certificates. Inspectors at the year-old HCMC Food Safety Agency have the authority to seize dog meat from slaughterhouses and restaurants if the owners fail to produce certificates of origin. Officials from the Food Safety Agency declined to comment on their capacity or status. Thao said the fledgling force is restructuring to more effectively enforce existing regulations. The trafficking of Thai dogs into Vietnam appears to be a growing problem for the country, as demand for dog continues to rise. Last year, the Global Post reported that "Hanoi's leftover Thai dogs were once re-sold in China, according to researcher Thanyathip Sipana, but now Vietnamese consumption leaves little for the Chinese."....READ MORE


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