VIETNAM’S capital of Hanoi has urged residents to stop consuming dog meat in a bid to protect the city’s image and prevent the spread of rabies.
Famed for its tasty street food, roasted, boiled or steamed dog meat can easily be found in markets and food shops across the capital. Traditionally, the meat is eaten with rice wine or beer.
However, Hanoi’s People’s Committee on Tuesday warned residents against eating dog meat to prevent rabies infections and other animal-borne diseases, according to the AFP.
Other than dog meat, the committee called for an end to the consumption of cat meat, commonly served as “little tiger” on menus in the country. While the delicacy is less popular than dog meat in the city, feline dishes are fairly common in rural areas.
In a statement, the city government pointed out the cruel practices used to kill the animals, expressing hope that it could gradually be phased out.
The city’s committee said it wants to preserve Hanoi’s reputation as a “civilised and modern capital” in the eyes of foreigners, who mostly believe the consumption of domesticated animals and pets were taboo.
Hanoi is home to nearly half a million dogs and cats, the majority of which are kept as pets. But the city is also littered with over 1,000 shops selling the animal meat.
Vietnam consumes five million dogs every year, the Asia Canine Protection Alliance said earlier, while China is estimated to consume about 10 million dogs a year.
The animal rights group estimated over 30 million dogs are slaughtered for meat across Asia each year and the consumption continues unabated despite many campaigns calling for their end.
According to official figures, Hanoi has recorded three deaths from rabies since the beginning of the year while two others were confirmed infected with the disease.