Dog meat selling will be banned in the inner districts of Hanoi from 2021 according to the local Department of Animal Health.
Speaking with the Lao Dong Newspaper on Wednesday, director of the Department of Animal Health, Nguyen Ngoc Son, said that the city now has 1,013 restaurants selling dog and cat meat and 15 shops selling the animals as domesticated pets.
“Following a direction from the city's People's Committee to call on residents to ease off eating dog meat, we are building a plan to gradually phase out the slaughtering and trading of dog meat," Son said. "By 2021 there will be no dog meat restaurants in the city centre."
The Hanoi People's Committee on Tuesday issued a statement urging local districts authorities to widely send warnings to residents about the risks of spreading diseases including rabies, cholera and spirillosis caused by eating dog and cat meat.
The committee also said that the trading and slaughtering of dogs and cats have badly affected the image of Hanoi.
The call has attracted lots of attention from the public many of whom support the city government.
"That's a good thing that integration brings to us," a reader commented on an article about the news on Dantri Newspaper. "We see how animals, especially pet dogs and cats are treated by our foreign friends and we've realised that they deserve better treatment."
However, many dog and cat meat lovers have considered the call ridiculous. They said that dogs and cats are just like pigs and cows, and that dog meat is a traditional dish and there was no point in giving it up.
Roasted, boiled or steamed, dog meat is regularly served in Hanoi.
According to the committee, there are now about 493,000 dogs and cats in the city, the vast majority of which are kept as domesticated pets.
Three people have died from rabies in Hanoi since the beginning of this year, and two others were confirmed infected with the disease, according to official figures.