ENV’s latest PSA reminds public of health risks posed by restaurants serving wildlife

Hanoi, November 1, 2022 – Education for Nature – Vietnam (ENV) has released their 52nd Public Service Announcement (PSA) to date, depicting the health risks posed by dining in a restaurant where questionable wildlife meat is served and urging the public to avoid such establishments, thereby helping to avoid another global pandemic.

In the short film, a young couple and their two children are out dining at a fancy restaurant. They order a pork dish, which they excitedly share. However, little do they know that the chef had been butchering a civet back in the kitchen, cross contaminating their food.

Illegal wildlife is still offered and consumed at numerous restaurants throughout Vietnam, leaving people exposed to zoonotic diseases while also having detrimental impacts upon wild animal populations. Customers cannot be sure of the legal origin of the wildlife and whether it meets food standards for safe consumption, leaving open the possibility of transmission of dangerous viruses stemming from wild animals. In fact, about 70% of all infectious diseases over the last 30 years have originated from animals. 

Having returned to normality, Covid-19 feels like a thing of the past. However, the world should not forget how disastrous the spread of Covid-19 has been for families, businesses, and the economy. Steps should be taken to prevent such an uncontrollable outbreak from occurring again.

The PSA closes, “You don’t have to eat wildlife to expose yourself to zoonotic diseases. Avoid restaurants and other establishments where wildlife is kept and consumed.”

ENV Vice Director, Nguyen Phuong Dung, reinforced the main message of the PSA: “Illegal trafficking of wildlife – which results in thousands of animals being poached from the wild each year and laundered through licensed farms, before ending up in markets and restaurants – is not just a threat to our biodiversity; it is also a threat to ourselves. Stopping the illegal wildlife trade preserves human health.”    

This PSA will also be shared on channels across Vietnam, reaching hundreds of millions of viewers. Its message not only applies to the consumption of wildlife meat, but urges against all other types of illegal wildlife consumption, including keeping wild animals and using products made from wildlife, which can also spread disease.

ENV wants to thank the Cleveland Metropolitan Zoo and U.S. Department of State for supporting efforts to eradicate demand for wildlife in restaurants and enabling this PSA to be produced and shared widely with the Vietnamese public. You can watch the PSA here: https://youtu.be/aVTXAdgITdI