Wrap up: Most readers vote to ban dog meat but pro-regulation arguments remain unchallenged

By Editorial   October 21, 2017 | 05:46 am PT
The readers have voted and commented. It's time to weigh up the main arguments.

As of 8:30 p.m. today, 95 percent of 1,898 votes cast in the Dog Meat Debate are in favor of banning the meat. Only 5 percent are against. 

The main line of argument in favor of banning dog meat is that dogs are pets, our friends, so eating them is immoral. On top of that, the illegal dog meat trade fuelled by high demand has resulted in dogs being stolen, tortured and slaughtered in barbaric ways. 

"The entire international community knows how the dog farms /slaughterhouses insert tubes into the stomach of these beloved dogs to increase the weight to gain more money as they are sold by weight." - Nom Aly. 

"You cannot justify boiling, cutting limbs off skinning dogs and cats alive." - Ben Ciesiak

Those against the ban, however, argue that while dogs are pets in the West, they're not entirely so in Vietnam, where a certain breed, cho ta, is raised for meat and other breeds are considered pets. Being a famous delicacy, eating dog meat, they argue, is part of Vietnam's culture, which should be respected.

"Banning part of culture because you don’t like it? That’s really barbaric if you ask me.- Bach La Desh. 

"Many people keep pigs as pets. Maybe you should stop eating pork because of the horror these people will feel about it. In India, the cow is sacred. It is holly. That surely places it above cats and dogs. Then surely you should stop eating beef." - Bruce

They go on to argue for regulation, whereby pet theft is criminalized and dog farms are regulated to avoid cases of animal cruelty found even in pig and cow farms around the world. Banning, they think, is likely to simply exacerbate the cruel black market because the demand is still there. 

"Criminalizing dog-meat eating just doesn't make the matter disappear, it only sweeps it under the carpet. [...] This is especially true in a country where law enforcement is weak and corruption is rife." - Le Nguyen Hoang Vinh

"The problem does not lie with eating dog meat. It is the criminals that go steal other people’s dogs and the restaurants that don’t do background checks." - Bach La Desh

"Banning will only push prices up and makes it more lucrative for the thieves. It needs to start with education if that’s the direction they want to go." - Anton Pham

Overall, both sides agree that the way the dog meat trade treats these animals is barbaric and needs to stop. But they disagree on how it should be done. Dog lovers consider eating dogs out of the question while pro-regulation argue that banning won't solve the problem but actually worsen it by making the trade more lucrative. 

The reason why the dog meat debate in Vietnam is so heated is arguably because of the changing relationship between humans and dogs in this country, as long as the line between pet and food remains blurred, conflict is likely to continue. 

From a policymaking point of view, the question remains whether Vietnam's law enforcement is better suited for regulation or an outright ban. Which solution is better suited to minimize pet theft and the barbaric way in which dogs are slaughtered?

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