A Vietnamese city urges its residents not to eat dog meat to improve the image of the country

 Food safety officials in Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam urged local people to stop eating dog meat in a bid to improve the national image.

"This is advice, it is not an order, so we have not announced any fines," said Van Te Hoi Tran, head of communications at the Ho Chi Minh City Food Safety Board.

Eating dogs is not unusual in Vietnam, says the watchdog, but although eating dogs is not a criminal, they have never been officially listed as suitable for human food.

One of the health risks associated with eating dog meat is parasites that can affect human internal organs, while chemicals in toxins used to kill dogs also threaten consumers, Food Safety Board Chairman Assistant Professor Pham Khan Phong Lan told local media.

"Eating dog meat is not a good habit, so people should get rid of it, especially in an age of international integration," the council said on its website last week.

Consumption of dog meat in Vietnam has become a goal of animal welfare campaigns in the past, and according to estimates by the Asia Dog Protection Alliance, five million dogs are killed and eaten in Vietnam every year.

However, eating dog meat is more common in Hanoi, which also tried to reduce dog meat consumption last year.

The Vietnamese capital is estimated to have about 500,000 dogs and cats, as well as about 1,000 restaurants and shops selling meat for the animals.


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