Vietnam was recently ranked the worst nation for wildlife crimes out of a list of 23 countries in a survey undertaken by the World Wildlife Fund. Perhaps government officials have taken this dishonorable ranking to heart with their decision to take action against a group of soldiers for torturing endangered monkeys.
The group of three soldiers reportedly bought the illegally caught monkeys from local villagers before torturing them and then paying villagers to slaughter them. Photographs of the two monkeys’ torture were uploaded onto Facebook.
Private Nguyen Van Quang (whose Facebook wall displayed the photos) and the two other soldiers involved in this atrocious incident have been dismissed from their unit, according to state media. Three villagers have been arrested for illegal hunting.
With high levels of public outrage over these heinous crimes, the Vietnamese government should ensure that the punishment handed down to these soldiers reflects the severity of their crime. The two monkeys, who were forced to smoke, then skinned and beheaded, were critically endangered gray-shanked douc langurs. The International Union for Conservation of Nature has placed these monkeys among the world’s top 25 most-endangered primates, with only approximately 650 animals believed to be left in the wild.
Col. Nguyen Van Hai, the head of Tay Nguyen Command’s Military Prosecutor’s Office, has stated that the soldiers are being questioned and that they will be dealt with under military law. It is crucial that the Vietnamese authorities show that they will not tolerate animal abuse and that offenders will be punished appropriately.
Please write to your local Vietnamese embassy and ask government officials to send a message that Vietnam will no longer tolerate the torture and abuse of animals. Animals are not ours to exploit, and it is time for Vietnam to implement animal-protection laws to safeguard those who cannot speak for themselves.
Posted by Claire Fryer