A restaurant in Vietnam has been closed after its owner Pham Quoc Doanh raised moral concerns over the practice of slaughtering cats for serving cat soup to customers. The restaurant, Gia Bảo, would kill 300 cats a month to make cat soup recipe named "thịt mèo" (cat meat).
Gia Bảo tore down his restaurant's advertisement about the cat soup recipe and freed at least 20 cats and kittens and placed them for adoption.
Cat meat popular in Vietnam
A section of people in Vietnam love to consume cat meat. According to the Humane Society International (HSI), Vietnam used to witness killings of about 1 million cats — mostly stolen pets and strays — annually. Gia Bảo had cat soup on its menu. In order to make the dish, Pham Quoc Doanh would drown cats by holding them down with a stick in a bucket of water. “I felt sorry for them when I saw them suffering during slaughtering. It was all about money since I had to make money for my whole family,” the owner was quoted as saying by The Metro.
Restaurant owner forced into cat meat market due to low income
According to Doanh, his restaurant would serve normal food and drinks. However, the restaurant was not making enough profits and he was compelled to jump into the cat meat market.
“Before selling cat meat at this restaurant I served other normal food and drinks. However, the income was not enough to cover the living cost of my family. It was then I tried selling cat meat since there was no other available restaurant serving this in the area,” Doanh told The Metro.
HSI helps Doanh change his business
Since Doanh decided to close his restaurant, the Humane Society International helped him connect with their Models for Change programme under which he received one-time grant to shut his restaurant and open a grocery store.
“Now that I’ve closed my cat slaughter business, I feel more peaceful in my mind and feel confident and happy about my future,” Doanh said. The rescued cats were taken to the Thai Nguyen University of Agriculture and Forestry for required vaccination. They have now been placed for adoption.