A pig is slaughtered during a festival organized in Nem Thuong Village, Bac Ninh Province, on February 24. Photo: Cam Giang
An international animal rights group continues to urge Vietnam's authorities to end the pig slaughter ritual of a local festival, even though the event organizer has promised to tone it down in response to criticism.
In a statement recently released on its website, the Hong Kong-based Animals Asia Foundation said the concession by Nem Thuong Village in the northern province of Bac Ninh showed "progress," but was "not enough."
"The pig will still be subjected to a terrifying experience. This will not break the link between celebration and animal cruelty," the group said.
It called on Vietnamese authorities to end the ritual, saying "this animal cruelty is incompatible with a vibrant, modern and economically successful country like Vietnam."
It also urged the public to sign its petition to bring the pig slaughter to end.
Bac Ninh's cultural authority last week announced that Nem Thuong agreed to change how to celebrate its centuries-old festival, after fighting criticism from Animals Asia and local officials since early this year.
It said the killings will take place in a "private" and "discreet" area, and the villagers will stop wetting money with fresh blood -- a tradition that many claim can bring them good luck.
The festival is celebrated every sixth day of the first lunar month to commemorate a general who took refuge in the area while fighting invaders a thousand years ago. He killed wild hogs to feed his soldiers, hence the tradition of slaughtering pigs.
Traditionally, villagers parade two pigs around the village before cutting their necks for blood. They then wet money notes with the fresh blood and put them on the altars in their houses to pray for good crops and health.