HA NOI (VNS)— A recent survey conducted by Education for Nature Viet Nam (ENV) shows that around 90 per cent of local restaurants leading up to the famed Huong Pagoda in Ha Noi's My Duc District have been selling the meat of deer, Indian civet, porcupine, boar and other wild animals.
The findings contradict a statement released by Nguyen Van Hau, Vice chairman of the district People's Committee, that the restaurants only sold farm animals.
According to ENV staff, the owners of the restaurants offered them wild animal meat when they posed as customers, but when they came back with authorised agencies the owners claimed that all of the meat was registered and had not come from the wild.
Tran Viet Hung, deputy director of ENV, said "If these restaurants have really been selling wild animals, it is not only a violation of regulations but also damages the image of the pagoda - one of the most popular spiritual destinations in the city, especially during the first days of Lunar New Year."
In the run-up to Tet, ENV co-operated with the management board of Huong Pagoda to hang 15 banners calling for people not to consume wild animal meat, Hung said.
He revealed that cases of wild meat being sold in the area had been reported for many years, but local authorities had never properly investigated.
He added that it was imperative for documents proving the origin of all meat to be checked thoroughly by authorities.
The sales of wild animals in Viet Nam are strictly regulated, but investigations of restaurants are still not commonplace.
The ENV has urged the city People's Committee to introduce drastic measures to deal with violations relating to wild animals. — VNS