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The heart-breaking dog photo changing Vietnam


23 March 2015

A photo of a young Vietnamese child crying next to a cooked dog has gone viral in Vietnam prompting many to rethink the legality of the dog meat industry.

The sobering image has been seen by millions on social media and in the local press, garnering thousands of comments -- many of which recall their own childhood trauma of seeing a friend become food.

One user identified as Ngoc Linh said: "I remember my mother selling my dog to the neighbour for dog meat. I saw him drowned and cried for him to be saved. I'm still haunted. I love dogs and will never eat dog meat. The child in the picture is no different from me."

Tuan Bendixsen Animals Asia's Vietnam Director said: "This innocent child's reaction is the natural and proper reaction to seeing a friend slaughtered. What this image should make clear to us is that those who are not moved by the sight of a roasted dog, are in the minority.

"Cruelty is often attributable to social norms that are not challenged. Not only by society but by individuals. This picture is causing people to reconsider our relationship with dogs and with animals in general."

Sadly today in Vietnam, children still often witness or take part in the slaughter of animals for food either in wet markets or at home. However, recent condemnation of the Nem Thuong pig slaughter festival - where hundreds of people, including children, watch pigs being cut in half - has offered hope that cruelty to animals is no longer acceptable in the country.

The issue of eating dog has become an increasingly sensitive topic in recent years, particularly as cases of dog-knappings and vigilante reprisals have become increasingly widespread.

Animals Asia's founder and CEO, Jill Robinson MBE said: "Vietnam's dog meat industry is rife with cruelty and illegality. At a restaurant you might not be eating your own companion, but chances are you're eating someone else's. Just one little dog, the grief of a child and the local call for justice is highlighting the issue and pressing for change."

In 2014 the governments of Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam agreed a five-year moratorium on the movement of dogs between the four countries. The move - led by animal welfare group Asia Canine Protection Alliance (ACPA) of which Animals Asia is a member - was in response to fears over the spread of rabies.

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