I wanted to apprise you of the upcoming national animal welfare conference that will be held this year in Ho Chi Minh City from September 13-14 at the Hotel Continental in District 1. This will be the first ever of its kind in Vietnam. Humane Society International is funding the event through the Kairos Coaltion, but it is being organized and run by Yêu Động Vật (YDV / Animal Lovers), a domestic Ho Chi Minh City animal advocacy and rescue group. The purpose of the conference is to convene representatives from domestic animal advocacy organizations, as well as those without organizational affiliation who want to better understand farm animal, companion animal, and wildlife issues in Vietnam, to learn more about animal welfare advocacy and campaign strategies, and to network with other dometic animal activists. The conference will offer a number of educational and networking opportunities, including presentations by domestic and international speakers, panel discussions, advocacy working groups, and a film screening and vegan buffet.
Thus far, scheduled speakers/panelists will include representatives from YDV, Hanoi Pet Rescue, Vietnam Animal Welfare Association, Animal Rescue & Care – Vietnam, Asia Canine Protection Alliance, Humane Society International, Animals Asia Foundation, Environment & Animal Society of Taiwan, Vietnam National University of Agriculture. Travel scholarships have been provided to ensure activist represenation from Da Lat, Da Nang, Ha Noi, and Nha Trang.
Since the last time we spoke, there has been a great deal of activity on the ground in Vietnam in addition to the work of ENV and AAF. Last year we held two workshops, one at Vietnam National University or Agriculture and a second at the HCM City University of Agriculture. The purpose of those were to explore research programs to evaluate how best to incorporate enhancments to animal welfare in Vietnam’s farm animal sector. That work is ongoing with HSI grants. We also launched a Go Veg campaign in 2013 with YDV taking the lead. They published a Vietnamese Go Veg guide, and hold monthly animal advocacy film screenings and vegan food tastings in HCM City. They also recently launched a pilot 21-day kickstart like program. This campaign has been extended through 2014 thanks to an generous, but anonymous international donor. YDV also has been improving their Restored Hope Foster Home, a quasi-shelter they established in 2012 as someplace to foster and provide veterinary treatment for rescued dogs and cats pending re-homing. They conducted a very popular Animal Advocacy Propaganda Poster Contest a year or so ago, and have twice run a voucher-based spay-neuter campaign in HCM City. Kairos Coaliton funded the first, and AAF is funding the second. Finally, as you know there has been increased domestic rescue and advocacy activity in Hanoi with the establishemnt of Hanoi Pet Rescue, and in Hoi An with the founding of Vietnam Animal Welfare Organization. There are other nascent groups coalescing in Da Nang and Nha Trang.
Also, don’t know if you saw them, but three issues of a brand new bilingual companion animal magazine have been published since early this year. The magazine is called “Mê Thú Cưng”, and the publisher/editor (Wayne Capriotti) gives a good amount of space to advocacy NGOs. You can read all three issues here: http://digi-escape.com/me_thu_cung/
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