Village In Vietnam Agrees To Tone Down Pig Slaughter Event

A village in Vietnam has agreed to make changes to a traditional pig slaughtering festival described as “barbaric” by animal rights campaigners.

Villagers carry a shrine around the Nem Thuong village during a festival in Bac Ninh, north of Hanoi, February 24, 2015. Organized by the villagers, the festival is held on the sixth day of the first month of the lunar calendar to worship the village’s deity Doan Thuong, an anti-royal military general who lived in 13th century. Every year, thousands of people from the village and nearby villages will gather to smear the blood of pig on their banknotes in the belief that it would bring luck in the new year. The festival is known as the most brutal in the country and is condemned by many, including some who called on the government to stop the festival.

The annual event in Nem Thuong, in the northern province of Bac Ninh, involves pigs being carted around the village in a procession before being slaughtered with a sword in front of spectators. While the festival will still take place, the pigs will now be killed in a “discreet” area away from the crowds, Thanh Nien News reports.

People will also no longer engage in the practice of daubing banknotes in the pigs’ blood, which is thought to bring good luck. Provincial officials say the changes to the centuries-old festival were made in recognition of social developments, the report adds.

The move follows months of campaigning by the Animals Asia organisation, which wants Vietnam’s government to ban the festival altogether, describing it as a “display of barbaric animal cruelty”. In January, the country’s culture ministry voiced its disapproval at the tradition, with a spokesman telling the Tuoi Tre newspaper: “Living in this civilised world, we should support cultural and civilised activities and limit uncultured and uncivilised acts.”

The festival is said to commemorate a 13th Century general who slaughtered wild boar to feed his army while taking refuge in the area, and is now considered a deity in the village.