Short history of dog eating in Vietnam.

Short history of dog eating in Vietnam.

#dog meat, #Buddhism, #insurgents, #Phạm Lãi, #Thanh Đề, #fox meat, #thịt cầy,

If you want to fight dog meat, you should know everything about it. (Suntzu taught: You cannot lose all 10/10 battles if you know well your enemy and yourself.)

1. Dog eating in ancient literature.

Eating dogs had gone back to more than 2000 years. This is proved in the doctrine of “no rabbits left, slaughtered the hounds” cited by retired commander Phạm Lãi of an ancient Viet kingdom.[1, 2, 3, 4]

“After flying birds have been exhausted good bows will get ruined. After the clever rabbits have died, those hound dogs hunting them will get slaughtered. This Viet king (you are serving) has long neck, bird beak, (that kind of people) only collaborates in hardship but does not want to share glory. Why have not you resigned?”

Generally, Vietnamese people who espouse the virtues of loyalty and hard working are against eating dogs, cats (which trust and are loyal and obedient to the owners) and buffaloes (which do heavy agricultural works and are loyal and obedient to the owners). Military people keep horses instead of buffaloes. Their horses are companions to them just like buffaloes to the peasants.

However, there are always people who want to rebel and challenge the customs by eating those four types of animals.

Buddhism started in or near to India about 200BC, spread out and reached Vietnam a long time ago. Buddhism is strongly against eating dogs. It has a story of a lady Thanh De who fed dog meat to Buddhist monks and suffered severe consequences [5, 6, 7].

2. Recent history of dog eating.

Figure: Restaurant for whole families eating Dog meat.

2.1- During the anti-colonial insurgency war against the French, the insurgents ordered civilians in Vietnam to eat all dogs so that insurgents won’t get bothered and revealed by their barking.

2.2- During the partitioned time (1954-1975), North Vietnam had little food and civilians were not allowed to keep dogs. Those having dogs must dispose of them.

2.3- During the communist insurgency war against the Republic of (South) Vietnam, the insurgents order civilians in country side of South Vietnam to dispose of all dogs so that insurgents won’t get bothered and revealed by their barking. Naturally, the anti-communist government of South Vietnam encouraged people to keep dogs as companion animals.

2.4- After the partition of Vietnam in 1954, there were millions of people from the North (Bac Ky: Northern Zone) moving to the South (Nam Ky: Southern Zone) to avoid the communist regime to be set up in the North.

The people from the South (Nam Ky: Southerner) recognized those people from North (Bac Ky: Northerner) by their language (nearly identical vocabulary but with slightly different pronunciations, different idioms) and their customs (eating different dishes, eating dogs, eating dishes with uncooked blood from ducks, pigs)

There are much higher percentage of 1954-Northerners eating dogs than Southerners.

2.4- Southerners do eat wild foxes (cầy). (Fox meat and peeled potatoes are hard boiled in coconut extract with added onion slices and turmeric powder). Northern Vietnamese then disguise their habit by calling dog meat “fox meat” (thịt cầy). Currently dog meat restaurants use the word “cầy” (foxes) to hide the real meaning of dogs.

2.5- After victory by Communist forces in 1975, many more Northerners (“Bac Ky 75”) moved to the South.

The percentage of 1975-Northerners eating dogs is even higher than the percentage of 1954-Northerners.

2,6- Eating dogs is now no more a taboo subject in the South and there has been open advocates for eating dogs. It was a taboo in Vietnamese Buddhism to talk about it (the policies of “Speak no evils” and of “no discussion about evil things”). There is now even a state authorized Vietnamese printed book teaching people how to farm dogs for meat. [8-14]

3. Current state of dog eating.

3.1- In some regions of North and Central Vietnam, it has been a custom in recent years to serve dog meats for family reunion on the anniversaries of the passing away (đám giổ) of their ancestors.

3.2- Not only eating dogs, Northerners also have village Tet festivals where buffalos duel to death (chọi trâu). Both the winner and loser buffaloes are then slaughtered. Meat of the winner is served to the most honored guests, the loser to the next in rank.[15-19].

3.3- With mass migration from many South East Asian countries, the eating of dog meat has spread to Australia, England, etc…



DOG EATING IN ANCIENT (prior to 200BC) East Asian Literature:

Phù Sai… viết một bức thư, buộc vào mũi tên, bắn vào thành Việt: “Tôi nghe giảo thỏ chết thì chó săn tất bị mổ, địch quốc đã diệt thì mưu thần cũng chẳng còn. Sao quan Đại Phu không lưu cho nước Ngô tôi còn lại một chút để làm cái dư địa sau này”.


Phạm lãi … Một thời gian sau đó, ông mới viết một lá thư gửi cho Văn chủng, đại ý nói sau khi chim muông bị bắn hết rồi thì cung nỏ bị cất hết vào kho; Sau khi thỏ hoang bị săn bắt hết rồi thì chó săn bị mổ ăn thịt. Hiện nay kẻ thù của nước Việt đã bị tiêu diệt, các đại thần có công người thì bị ruồng bỏ, kẻ bị bức hại.









[11]. Vietnamese capital Hanoi asks people not to eat dog meat,














(1. Lỗ Trí Thâm, 鲁智深 from China.

He is a high buddhist monk of high rank in old China , has he eaten dog meat?.)