Dog and cat meat has been associated with various health benefits throughout the 4,000 years of traditional medicine in Vietnam, where animal-based remedies and ingredients are widely prescribed and passed down from generation to generation.
To address this persistent belief, the Soi Dog Foundation and Intelligentmedia have been working with the Professional Department of VOTMA to inspire traditional medicine practitioners to no longer suggest dog and cat meat. A new training scheme that challenges the actual health benefits of the meat and suggests strategies to reduce the current demand and consumption was held on World Rabies Day, September 28.
30 traditional medicine practitioners were brought together for a course that highlighted the risks of dog and cat meat consumption and the importance of anti-rabies efforts for the whole of society. The training aimed to foster a more robust engagement from the traditional medicine sector to stamp out the trade in the meat. More importantly, the participants were urged to reach a consensus on an action plan to pass on knowledge from the training to their patients, as consumers of the meat.
Ngo Van Duong, a senior researcher of traditional medicine, said, “Dog and cat meat isn’t as nutritious as people might think. It is also not a cure for bone and joint-related diseases, nor is there any scientific evidence that it enhances male sexual performance. But research suggests that dog meat may contain parasitic worms which can lead to blindness, myocarditis and respiratory failure, while rabies is another public health concern."
Eating dog and cat meat is not illegal in Vietnam; therefore, education is essential to drive change.
Bui Thi Duyen of Intelligentmedia said, “This training is an example of how traditional medicine practitioners can influence the change of dog and cat meat eaters.”
Following the course, five traditional medicine clinics in Hanoi signed a pledge against the dog and cat meat trade.
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