Dog meat in Vietnam through local eyes: a dish or a culture?
The rest of the world seems to be very curious in the way Vietnamese people treat cats and dogs. Recently, many international newspapers have posted conflicting images about pets are treated in Vietnam. They sometimes see dogs who are well-dressed, loved by their owners, and have funny photos that viral on the social network. On the contrary, they sometimes see packs of dogs lie in cages waiting to be transformed into delicious dishes. Actually, it is because people have different attitudes towards dogs, particularly dog meat in Vietnam.
The opposition of dog meat in Vietnam: “Dogs are friends, not food”
On behalf of people-against-dog-meat, animal rights activists support the ban on eating dog meat in Vietnam. They have been fighting for years to bring this controversial dish out of the menu.
Firstly, the dog lovers community is huge with thousands of members, who treat dogs as their family members. “Dogs are friends, not food” is what they say about their “bosses”.
Secondly, “people are killing dogs in a cruel way”. The common techniques are dipping in water, burning alive, hitting with hammers, using electricity and so on. There are many videos and photos on the internet about how a dog was killed for dog meat in Vietnam and other Asian countries that make the netizens angry. Most opinions suggest that the dog can feel the pain but people brutally kill it while they can choose another way which is less painful.
Another argument is that eating dog meat in Vietnam is the reason for dognapping. Stealing someone’s assets is a crime, and eating dog equals the consumption of illegal assets. Moreover, dog thieves are usually lazy and lack of money. Purebred gorgeous dogs are treasures of their owners and a huge profit of the thieves as well. Sadly, in the Vietnam countryside, the owners punish the thieves with the exact same way they killed their pets.
Plus, dog-meat-lovers claim that dogs are just like pigs or cows. Literally, people don’t eat pigs or cow kidnapped on the street. It’s like instead of buying vegetables from the supermarket, they stop by a garden in neighbor and cut down a bonsai illegally.
>> Click here to know more about the Dark and Bright sides of Pets in Vietnam.
Supporters of dog meat in Vietnam: “It’s about culture”
On the other hand, years ago when Vietnam just has been back from the war, there was no meat. At that point, all “moving things” become their protein supplement. Dogs, cats, reptiles, rats or even insects came to their daily menu. From then on, in their mindset, dogs are food.
Recently, the government is working on banning dog meat in Vietnam to please foreign tourists. It turns out to be that no country on earth forbids one kind of food to make other countries happy. The French still eat horses though they’d love to ride them on the weekend. The Australian still have specialties made of their symbol – kangaroos. The Japanese hunt the Red Book’s animal – the whale. Moreover, the American won’t remove hotdogs out of their list just because Muslims don’t eat beef.
According to the Westerners, eating dogs represents the “uneducated lifestyle”. In fact, different dishes of different countries just represent different cultures. Vietnamese people said that eating dog meat at the end of a year or a month, after a bad thing means “kicking” the bad luck away. In many places, it is also a custom in the funeral, the death anniversary or the wedding. It is very difficult to quit as a custom.
Next, most people oppose dog meat in Vietnam primarily because they oppose how dogs are caught and killed. Unfortunately, this drawback doesn’t occur only in the “dog field” but also the whole meat industry. Therefore, the prohibition of trading dog meat is not a reasonable solution.
The neutral faction: “Loving dogs and eating dog meat are two different things”
The ban on slaughtering, eating dog meat in Vietnam published by the French in the late 19th century. At that time, Hanoi was a French colony, so the French didn’t allow to slaughter and eat dogs. Anyone who fails to comply must be punished. However, from the moment the French left, dog meat has been on the way back to Vietnamese meals little by little.
Trading and eating dog meat in Vietnam has never received support from a large number of communities but has never been completely ostracized. They still condemn it when an issue of mistreating animals raised. However, they suppose to eat whose dogs ever, as long as it doesn’t belong to them. People can sometimes be horribly cruel with what is not familiar, such as the pet of those they don’t know. I’m pretty sure that among those who contribute a part to the dog meat demand, none of them are heartless enough to kill their own puppy. But they are fine eating others’ without thinking of the consequence if their pet is on the table either.
As a result, in the same country, there will still be lucky dogs which are treated like kings with loyal food and clothes, whereas others crammed in cages saying goodbye to their mates another after another.
Dog meat in Vietnam is not only a kind of food but also a part of the culture. In order to make foreigners have a more positive view on this issue, Vietnamese people, especially authorities need to make efforts to control the dogs and other animals markets. It not only ensures food safety but also provide a better slaughtering condition for dogs, cows, chickens or other cattle and poultry.