Sunday , February 25 2024

Hà Nội restaurants commit to taking action against consumption of dog, cat meat


A restaurant on Hàng Thùng Street, Hoàn Kiếm District of Hà Nội, participates in the campaign. — Photo courtesy of the organiser

HÀ NỘI — Soi Dog International Foundation and Intelligentmedia have launched a two-year sustainable food system campaign, with particular focus on eliminating dog and cat meat from daily food habits and practices.

The campaign organiser expects to have at least 1,000 restaurants in Hà Nội participating in the campaign.

Owners of many restaurants in Hà Nội signed the pledge to take action to stop the sale of dog and cat meats. To date, about 250 restaurant owners in three wards of Hà Nội Old Town – Lý Thái Tổ, Hàng Mã and Chương Dương – have participated in the campaign by signing a commitment not to sell dog or cat meats.

“I don’t support the consumption of dog and cat meats. My passion is to run a sustainable and healthy restaurant chain. The risks of zoonotic diseases from dog and cat meat are scientifically proven. I hope that the restaurant sector will join hands to refuse to sell dog and cat meat to reduce the availability of the food. Altogether, this will help to stop demand,” said Ms. Nguyễn Thị Hồng Xiêm, owner of Hồng Xiêm Restaurant in Hàng Thùng Street, Hà Nội.

Mr. Nguyễn Vĩnh Tiến, chef of Quả Trám Restaurant, 21 Phùng Hưng Nhỏ Street, Hà Nội said: “As a chef, besides meeting the demand of my customers with delicious, well-decorated and healthy dishes, I’m interested in promoting a sustainable food system by leveraging my culinary skills and knowledge. To me, nutrition and sustainability are important considerations. I insist on mitigating food systems-related climate change and zoonotic disease.”

“Previously, dog and cat meats were traditional foods when people were too poor to have other options. Nowadays, we have a lot of other foods. Stopping to eat these meats helps protect us from infectious diseases and also protects our pets. I hope all chefs can be change-makers for a sustainable food system in the country,” stressed Chef Tiến.

To date, about 250 restaurant owners in Hà Nội have signed commitments to not buy or sell dog or cat meats. — Photo courtesy of the organiser

Restaurants that participate in the campaign will benefit from sustainable brand reputation and increase their social responsibility to tackle food-related issues.

By refusing to sell dog and cat meat on the menu, restaurants will protect their customers from zoonotic diseases including cholera and rabies and support reducing the number of dogs and cats stolen, caged and brutally killed for food. Restaurants will also attract more domestic and international customers who are pet-responsible owners and prefer hygiene and green food ingredients.

Mr. Rahul Sehgal, Director, International Advocacy of Soi Dog International Foundation, said that Soi Dog is committed to supporting Việt Nam in eliminating rabies through rabies prevention and community education programmes as well as livelihood transition for dog and cat meat traders and slaughterers.

“We will seek support from all over the world for Việt Nam if it becomes a country that ceases dog and cat meat consumption and trade. We believe that by achieving this, Việt Nam will become a tourism-friendly destination for international visitors,” stressed Sehgal.

In 2018, Hà Nội released a campaign to encourage people to give up eating dog and cat meat. About 30 per cent of dog and cat meat shops in Hà Nội stopped selling dog and cat meat, especially Nhật Tân village, which used to be the “dog meat hub” of the city.

In 2021, the Hà Nội Department of Agriculture and Rural Development also proposed a ban on dog and cat meat trade in city districts. In 2023, the National Assembly, in collaboration with the Soi Dog International Foundation and Social and Behavior Change Agency Intelligentmedia, organised several workshops to explore solutions for promoting responsible pet guardianship.

On December 5, 2023, Quảng Nam Province’s Hội An city closed the last dog and cat meat restaurant in the town, saving hundreds of animals from being trafficked and consumed at this restaurant yearly.

Animal welfare advocacy organisations and animal lovers hope that Hà Nội and many other cities in Việt Nam will follow Hội An’s footsteps in stamping out dog and cat meat consumption. — VNS


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