18 Dogs Saved from Vietnam Slaughterhouse—Including Canines ‘Locked Up in Cages for Fattening’

Lola Webber, Director of Campaigns to End Dog Meat patting the dogs in a dog restaurant in Cay Xanh village, Quyet Thang commune, Thai Nguyen city.

Lola Webber, Director of Campaigns to End Dog Meat patting the dogs in a dog restaurant in Cay Xanh village, Quyet Thang commune, Thai Nguyen city.

Chau Doan/AP Images for HSI

Rescuers saved eighteen dogs from a slaughterhouse in Vietnam after the owner decided to give up the business and surrender the remaining canines at the facility.

According to a release from Humane Society International (HSI), the animal welfare organization took over care of the 18 canines after 40-year-old Mr. Hiep of Vietnam’s Thai Nguyen province — a popular area for dog meat supply — joined Models for Change , a program created by HSI to help people transition out of the dog meat trade.

As part of the program, Mr. Hiep decided to permanently close down his business which had killed “10-15 dogs every day” for the past five years, per the release. HSI and officials from Vietnam’s Departments of Agriculture and Animal Health were on site to assist Mr. Hiep, who is now planning to switch from the dog meat business to agricultural services.

The slaughterhouse owner shared in a statement that he knows “in my heart that killing and eating dogs is wrong” and that “it was becoming harder and harder for me to do it. I am convinced that being part of this trade was bringing my family bad karma, so I am relieved to work with HSI in Vietnam to end this chapter in my life and start afresh.”

HSI country director Tham Phuong patting a dog at Mr. Dam The Hiep's slaughterhouse and restaurant in Cay Xanh village, Quyet Thang commune, Thai Nguyen city.

HSI country director Tham Phuong patting a dog at Mr. Dam The Hiep’s slaughterhouse and restaurant in Cay Xanh village, Quyet Thang commune, Thai Nguyen city.

Chau Doan/AP Images for HSI

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When HSI came to move Mr. Hiep’s 18 dogs to an animal rescue, the group’s officials found some of the pups “locked up in cages for fattening to reach slaughter weight.” After HSI removed the dogs from their cages, the pooches were “vaccinated against rabies and distemper.”

HSI transported the dogs to temporary shelters and rehabilitation centers at the Thai Nguyen University of Agriculture and Forestry for medical attention and care. Once the canines are healthy and comfortable, they will be placed for adoption locally and abroad.

Lola Webber, Director of Campaigns to End Dog Meat patting the dogs in a dog restaurant in Cay Xanh village, Quyet Thang commune, Thai Nguyen city.

Lola Webber, Director of Campaigns to End Dog Meat patting the dogs in a dog restaurant in Cay Xanh village, Quyet Thang commune, Thai Nguyen city.

Chau Doan/AP Images for HSI

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HSI’s Models for Change program recently began in Vietnam following the program’s success in South Korea. Models for Change started in South Korea in 2015 and has shut down 17 dog meat farms and rescued 2,500 dogs since then.

The program assists the slaughterhouse owners who choose to participate by helping the owners transition to a new business.

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In a statement, Phuong Tham, Humane Society International’s country director in Vietnam, said, “We are very proud to bring our Models for Change program to Vietnam. The dog meat trade is not only unbelievably cruel but also poses a very grave risk to human health from the transmission of potentially lethal diseases like rabies.”

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“Mr. Hiep is the first of what we hope will be many more people to leave this dangerous trade behind them, helping the government achieve its goal of eliminating human rabies deaths from dog interactions by 2030,” he added.

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