Vietnam’s capital Hanoi authorities are urging residents to stop eating dog meat, to protect its image as a “civilised and modern capital” and halt the spread of diseases such as rabies and leptospirosis.
Over 1,000 shops in the city offer dog and cat meat, but officials worry the practice could tarnish its reputation among foreigners and tourists, Channel News Asia reports. There are an estimated 490,000 dogs and cats in Hanoi – the majority of which are pets.
“The trading, killing and use of dog and cat meat have brought on a negative reaction from tourists and expatriates living in Hanoi,” Hanoi People’s Committee said in a statement Tuesday as quoted from Time.com.
A growing number of people in Vietnam disapprove of eating dog meat, but it still remains “very much a deep-rooted habit”, according to Linh Nguyen, a journalist with the BBC’s Vietnamese service.
The government’s appeal also warned about the spread of rabies and other animal-borne diseases. According to the Associated Press, the move is part of a national program to stamp out rabies by 2021. Three people have died from the disease in the city this year, and two others were confirmed to be infected, official figures said.
Sources: Time.com, BBC.co.uk