Hanoi, Feb 13 (IANS) Dog meat vendors on the street markets of the Vietnamese capital on Tuesday geared up for Lunar New Year celebrations later this week.
Despite widespread criticism, dog meat has been part of Vietnam's cuisine for decades, reports Efe news.
At a busy market in the capital, vendors stack whole dog carcasses in piles of up to 10, leaving buyers the option of taking home an entire meal to enjoy with several people, or snack on a quick bite of "cha cho" (skewers with barbecued dog meat) on the spot.
Such stalls are popular across the city, with most large markets featuring several dog meat sellers.
According to the Asia Canine Protection Alliance (ACPA), over five million dogs are slaughtered every year for human consumption.
The majority are poached from neighbouring countries such as Laos, Cambodia and Thailand, making both rescue efforts and hygiene conditions difficult to monitor.
In addition to the poor treatment and conditions the animals are subjected to, consuming canine meat poses serious health risks to people, including diseases such as rabies and cholera.
NGOs fighting the dog meat trade in Asia have said that changing people's attitudes towards the animals -- from viewing them as commodities to treating them as pets -- is one of the main challenges.
Despite this and other international efforts to fight the dog meat trade, Vietnam continues to be one of the countries most associated with canine cuisine.
ACPA estimated in 2014 that over half (53.7 per cent) of Vietnamese people were against eating dog meat, demonstrating a tangible improvement but also highlighting the extent of the challenge animal rights defenders face to end the trade for good.