- A restaurant in Thái Nguyên, Vietnam, that killed up to 300 cats a month has shut down.
- Its owner said he knew some were people’s pets but that he needed the money.
- The owner got a grant from Humane Society International to close the restaurant.
A Vietnamese restaurant that drowned up to 300 cats a month to feed diners has closed down.
Pham Quoc Doanh, the owner of Gia Bảo in Thái Nguyên, northeastern Vietnam, told Metro that he knew some were people’s pets but that he didn’t have a choice because he needed the money.
Doanh said that he added cat meat to the restaurant’s menu to make it more profitable because he was struggling to support his family, noting that there were no other restaurants nearby selling the meat.
Doanh drowned the cats individually in a bucket, Metro reported. “I felt sorry for them when I saw them suffering during slaughtering,” he said.
“When I think of all the thousands of cats I’ve slaughtered and served up here over the years, it’s upsetting,” Doanh said in a press release published by animal-welfare organization Human Society International. “Cat theft is so common in Vietnam that I know many of the cats sold here were someone’s loved family companion, and I feel very sorry about that.”
In 2022, HSI started a program offering financial incentives to Vietnamese restaurants if they stop selling cat and dog meat and give the animals up for adoption. Doanh was given a one-time grant in exchange for closing his restaurant and giving the animals away.
He now plans to open a grocery instead, HSI said.
‘Now that I’ve closed my cat-slaughter business, I feel more peaceful in my mind and feel confident and happy about my future without killing any more animals,’ Doanh told Metro.
The animal-welfare organizations Four Paws and Change For Animals Foundation claimed in a 2020 report that more than 1 million stray and pet cats are killed in Vietnam every year for their meat.
“Some restaurants purchase the animals directly from cat thieves and slaughter them themselves on their premises, but most operate with wholesalers and slaughterhouses,” Dr. Katherine Polak, veterinarian and Head of Four Paws Stray Animal Care in Southeast Asia, said in a press release. The cats are most commonly drowned, but in some cases are bludgeoned to death, boiled alive, or electrocuted, according to the report.
“At the wholesalers, we discovered many cats with collars — a clear sign that they were pets,” Polak said.
HSI says its progam in Vietnam has also helped close down two dog restaurants in Thái Nguyên.