Animal Law in Vietnam

October 15, 2020Lu Shegay

General legislation

In Vietnam, the Law on Animal Health passed in 2015 states that natural and juridical persons bear the responsibility for animals, including pets and livestock, have to take care of rearing and nurturing animals, treat them humanely, and minimize their pain and fear.

It is prohibited to kill, trade, or transport certain species of wild animals in Vietnam despite the absence of animal welfare on this matter. The Penal Code of Vietnam was amended in 2018 to increase punishments for the violation of any provisions regarding endangered species. The same year, the Government of Vietnam has established the Vietnam Animal Welfare Association that is aimed at preventing and assisting investigations related to animal cruelty, as well as consulting persons on the issues of animal rights.

Companion Animals

Rabies is one of the main problems in Vietnam due to the dog meat trade and thousands of diseases. The Government of Vietnam issued the National Program for Rabies Control and Elimination 2017-2021, which involves directions and guidelines for introducing new legislation on the management of dog population, pet ownership, and mass dog vaccination, as well as strengthening penalties for the violations of the animal welfare provisions.

The Law on Animal Husbandry requires owners of dogs and cats to vaccinate their pets against rabies. Decree No. 167/2013/ND-CP provides that it is considered an offense in Vietnam to allow individuals to have their dogs roaming freely in public places.

Farmed Animals

Vietnam regulates the protection of animals used in agriculture within the country. In 2018, the country enacted the Law on Animal Husbandry, which prohibits the ill-treatment of livestock in rearing, slaughter, transport, and scientific research. A person is obliged to provide sustainable care, such as sufficient food and water. This Law also regulates the issues concerning farmed animals stating that the “humanitarian treatment of livestock must respect and be in harmony with traditional beliefs, religions, and traditional cultures and be accepted by the social community.” However, there is no specific regulation with regard to rearing pigs, broiler chickens, egg-laying hens, and dairy cattle.

Animals in Entertainment

Animals are still allowed to be used in circuses and tourism, as well as conducting greyhound racing. Given that Decree 32/2006/ND-CP prohibits using endangered species, a lot of those animals are found in entertainment facilities.

Animals Used in Experiments

Animals are being used in experiments and this conduct is not regulated by the law within the country. In 2014, the use of Draize rabbit eye and skin irritation tests were banned in the country.

Wild Animals

The illegal trafficking, killing, and raising of endangered species are prohibited in Vietnam and punished by imprisonment for up to 15 years and/or a large fine. The primary legal instrument with regard to the protection of wild animals is the Government Decree 32/2006/ND-CP. Article 5 provides that “forests, where endangered, precious, and rare species of wild plants and animals are concentrated, are considered to be special-use forests,” as well as those living outside special-use forests. Hunting, shooting, trapping, capturing, keeping, and slaughtering endangered, precious, and rare wild animals, as well as transporting, processing, advertising, trading, using, hiding, exporting, and importing endangered, precious, and rare wild animals are also prohibited by the Decree.

Another instrument is the Law on Forest Protection and Development enacted in 2004, which prohibits illegal hunting, shooting, catching, trapping, caging, or slaughtering forest animals, illegal transportation, process, advertisement, trade, use, consumption, storage, export, or import of forest animals without an appropriate permit.

Vietnam also prohibits, through the Law on Biodiversity of the XII National Assembly of Vietnam, hunting, fishing, and exploiting wild species in specially protected areas, except for scientific research. The law is aimed at protecting endemic species, species that are prohibited from exploitation, species threatened with extinction, and wild species needing protection from exploitation in the natural area.

Vietnam is also the party to the CITES since 1994.

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