Food safety officials in Ho Chi Minh City on Monday, have warned citizens against eating dog meat, in a bid to boost the national image.
“This is advice, it’s not an order, so we haven’t introduced any fines,” Phan Thi Hoai Tran, head of communications at Ho Chi Minh City’s Food Safety Management Board, said.
In Vietnam, eating dog meat is very popular but it is not illegal to eat dogs, however, the watchdog claims that the meat has never been formally included on the list of animals suitable for humans as food.
Health risks associated with eating the meat include parasites that can affect internal organs, while chemicals found in poisons used to kill the dogs also threaten consumers, Associate Prof. Pham Khanh Phong-Lan, head of the board, told local media.
“Eating dog meat is not a good habit so people should kick it, especially in this era of international integration,” the Board said on its website last week.
Vietnam’s dog meat consumption has made it the target of animal welfare campaigns in the past, and the Asia Canine Protection Alliance estimates that five million of the animals are killed and eaten in the country annually.