The trend is due in part to higher incomes and improved living standards. Every year, five million dogs are bred for sale as food in the Vietnamese market. Almost as many are treated as household pets. Dog meat sale is not regulated. In Hanoi, the authorities have announced a plan to ban it in 2021.
Hanoi (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Fewer and fewer Vietnamese are serving dishes with dog meat. Several factors have led to a decline in its consumption, a hitherto normal practice in the country, this according to sociologists and experts.
One factor is the rise in the number of dogs kept as pets, the result of higher incomes and improved living standards. Treating dogs as part of the family and bonding with them is now commonplace in Vietnam. Not long ago, keeping a pet was a luxury.
Nowadays, many Vietnamese suffer from stress and loneliness because of modern work and an urban lifestyle. According to the General Statistics Office, the percentage of single-person households in Vietnam has increased from 6.2 per cent in 2004 to 9.1 per cent in 2014.
Other reports note that the country’s divorce rate has also skyrocketed in the last ten years , especially in urban areas.
These modern trends have led people to seek greater companionship from pets. Unlike rural residents, who generally raise guard dogs and are more willing to slaughter them, urban residents greatly appreciate human-animal bonds.
According to the Vietnam Animal Health Department, as of last April 5.4 million dogs raised were kept as pets in the country. That is one in 17 Vietnamese had one.
In recent years, the use of the Internet has also allowed the Vietnamese to access more information and be more aware of food security. According to the Vietnam Food Administration, Vietnamese consumers’ awareness of food safety rose from 38.3 per cent in 2006 to 83.8 per cent in 2014. This number is expected to reach 90 per cent in 2020.
What is more, dog meat is currently unregulated by food authorities. In Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, many restaurants and markets sell dog meat, but no slaughterhouses are registered to butcher dogs. Hence, local authoriites are unable to control the meat in terms of safety and quality.
Last month, the Ho Chi Minh City Food Safety Management Authority urged citizens to stop eating dog meat, citing the risk of parasites in it that are dangerous to humans.
Roughly five million dogs are sold in Vietnam for meat, which is almost the same number of dogs living as households pets.
Whilst ordinary Veitnamese are still split over whether to treat dogs as friends or food, consumption continues to decline.
With the authorities becoming more proactive, warnings have been issued against dog meat consumption. In fact, an official ban against the practice is being considered. In Hanoi for instance, the authorities announced such a plan for 2021.