South Korea’s parliament recently passed a bill to ban the consumption and sale of dog meat, bringing an end to the controversial practice that has been around for centuries. The ban will take effect after a three-year grace period. This move has sparked hope in the international community, particularly in countries like Vietnam, where dog meat consumption is still permitted. Animal welfare groups are now urging Vietnam and other countries to follow suit. Dog meat consumption in Vietnam has been rooted in cultural beliefs and superstitions, as well as being considered a delicacy. However, recent reports indicate that approximately five million dogs are killed for their meat each year in Vietnam, making it the second-largest consumer of dog meat in the world. Many of these dogs are obtained through the theft of pets or the capture of strays, often using cruel methods such as poisoned bait or taser guns. The discussion surrounding dog meat consumption in Vietnam has gained momentum, driven by changing attitudes, increased pet ownership, and activism. A survey conducted by Four Paws in Vietnam found that the majority of Vietnamese support a ban on the dog and cat meat trade. Efforts are being made at the local level, such as in Hoi An City, which aims to become the first dog meat-free area in Vietnam. The number of dog meat restaurants in the city has dropped significantly in recent years. In 2019, officials in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi called on residents to reduce their consumption of dog meat due to health risks and to protect the image of the cities. The issue has generated diverse opinions, with some advocating for a complete ban, while others argue for better management and regulation to ensure humane treatment of animals and food safety standards.

A dog meat restaurant in Hanoi. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

A collage of screenshots features Facebook posts calling for action from Vietnam against dog meat consumption.