Vietnam’s Taste For Exotic Meat Threatens Species
Experts believe that many wildlife species in Vietnam are threatened due to Vietnamese taste preferences for rare and exotic meats. Up to 200 species of animals are currently used for food or medicine, and of these about 80 species are threatened.
The trade of wild animals for food or medicine in Vietnam is equivalent to about 3,400 tons of wild meat per year. Approximately 18% of this volume is illegally hunted. According to a survey by TRAFFIC and the World Wildlife Fund, the largest consumers of wild meat are located in the capital of Vietnam, Hanoi.
Historically, Vietnam has been a conduit for the exportation of rare and exotic animals to China. However, demand from within Vietnam is now high enough to necessitate sources from outside the country.
Laws to protect wild species exist throughout Asia, including in Vietnam, but they are not enforced. Bureaucrats’ tastes for wild meat likely contribute to the lack of protection for these species.