“In Vietnam, it’s hard to find a pet owner who hasn’t had at least one cat or dog stolen,” Katherine Polak shares with The Animal Reader. She’s the head Stray Animal Care Southeast Asia at the animal welfare organization Four Paws.
Together with the Change For Animals Foundation, they’ve exposed the cat meat trade in Vietnam, affecting an estimated one million cats each year. Pets are being stolen and stray cats caught in huge numbers to satisfy a growing demand for cat meat in the country.
It’s interesting that on the one hand, you have a very loving cat community, Polak says, and on the other hand, you have this horrific cat meat trade. “There are so many traders that are operating to steal cats, to set little traps. And these holding areas, they hold hundreds of cats at a time that are trafficked literally every day.”
Cat often have to endure long journeys cramped in small cages before being killed, usually by mass drowning. Polak says the government of Vietnam has been turning a blind eye to this for too long.
With other animal welfare organizations, Four Paws will form a local coalition to really fight this issue. “I think if we join together and have a very strong voice coming from within Vietnam, we can really achieve some local momentum,” Polak says.