Vietnam is one of the key dog meat markets in Southeast Asia

The Asia Canine Protection Alliance (ACPA) is calling for an end to dog meat trade in some Southeast Asian countries, including Vietnam.

According to statistics, each year approximately five million dogs are killed for meat, causing threats to human health. The ACPA was established in May 2013 to put an end to dog meat trade.

The APCA focuses on a flashpoint in the global dog meat trade - the supply of dogs from Thailand, Cambodia and Laos into Vietnam, where they are slaughtered and consumed.

Along with Change For Animals Foundation, the ACPA comprises of Humane Society International, Animals Asia and Soi Dog Foundation acting both locally within Asia and internationally on the issue.

Dog meat production has evolved from small-scale household businesses to a multi-million dollar industry of illicit dog traders, and the trade has been linked to outbreaks of trichinosis, cholera and rabies. The World Health Organization recently cited the trade as a contributing factor in recent outbreaks of rabies in Indonesia and cholera in Vietnam.

Whilst dog meat is eaten in several regions of the world, including parts of Europe, Russia, Africa and Latin America, its consumption is most widespread in Asia. As a result, the region generates the greatest animal welfare concern due to the many thousands of dogs being taken from the street or reared on dog farms, before being transported long distances and inhumanely slaughtered.

“Many years ago, dogs were eaten because people couldn’t afford other meat. Increasingly though, dog meat has become a delicacy, and is now often consumed for its perceived medicinal properties. There is, however, a growing body of evidence that highlights the significant risk the trade, slaughter and consumption of dogs poses to human health and animal welfare,” said Lola Webber, programme leader, Change For Animals Foundation.

Throughout Asia where trade in dogs for meat occurs, countries are failing to comply with their own national animal disease prevention measures, and are not following recommendations for rabies control and elimination by organisations such as the World Health Organization and the World Organization for Animal Health.

Tuan Bendixsen, Vietnam director, Animals Asia, said: “The trade in dogs for meat encourages the large-scale and illegal movement of dogs of unknown disease and vaccination status, and is impeding rabies elimination efforts in the region, posing a significant risk to the pledge made by the health ministers of Southeast Asia to eliminate rabies by 2020. Attempts to control and eliminate rabies will fail without addressing the trade in dogs for human consumption.”

In Vietnam, the Ministry of Health has agreed to host a conference in August with the ACPA to bring regional governments together to discuss ways to end the dog meat trade. The meeting is being billed as a breakthrough for animal rights in Vietnam, which has a reputation for animal cruelty especially when it comes to dog meat production.

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