Vietnam praised for less gory version of centuries-old pig slaughter fest

By VnExpress   February 8, 2017 | 01:03 am PT
Vietnam praised for less gory version of centuries-old pig slaughter fest
Nem Thuong villagers parade a pig before slaughtering it. Photo by VnExpress/Quy Doan
Animals Asia says it will continue to fight ‘until no live animals experience fear and trauma.’

Animal rights activists who were closely watching an annual pig parade festival in northern Vietnam have praised local authorities for their successful efforts to make the event less cruel to live animals.

The annual Nem Thuong festival in the namesake village of Bac Ninh Province was held on Thursday last week, as part of the country’s spring festival.

The Hong Kong-based Animals Asia Foundation said in a new statement that its investigators found numbers of participants dropped by around a third this year and there was no public slaughtering of the pigs.

The pigs were still killed after being paraded around the village, but privately, local media have reported. Organizers said the killing was in line with local slaughter practices.

Onlookers were not able to dip money in the blood for good luck as many did in previous years.

Nem Thuong villagers celebrate the festival on the sixth day of the first lunar month every year to commemorate a general who took refuge in the area while fighting invaders a thousand years ago. He killed wild hogs to feed his soldiers, hence the long-lasting ritual of pig killing.

Traditionally, villagers would parade two pigs around before beheading them or chopping them up. Then they would soak money in the fresh blood and place it on the altars in their houses to pray for good crops and health.


The festival has been facing criticism and opposition since 2012, including a petition from Animals Asia, which said the festival was “extremely cruel.” But the villagers repeatedly refused to give up their tradition.

Vietnam’s government took its stance late last year when the culture ministry ordered an end to all rituals that involve violent killing of animals.

Thanh Nguyen, Animals Asia’s Animal Welfare Officer, said this year’s event shows the organizers are listening to criticism from both the public and the authorities, and are taking steps to change.

“We won’t be satisfied until no live animals experience fear and trauma as part of Nem Thuong’s New Year festivities,” Nguyen said. “Parading pigs round the village also causes undue stress and suffering for the animals.

vietnam-praised-for-less-gory-version-of-centuries-old-pig-slaughter-fest“We believe that the village can continue to honor its heritage and traditions while also moving in step with Vietnam’s progression toward a modern country where animals are treated humanely.”

Related news:

Vietnam bans animal slaughter at violent spring festivals

Vietnamese government determined to tone down blood-thirsty festivals

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