Vietnam Animal Aid
Vietnam Animal Aid is a registered US 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with an animal rescue shelter and farm sanctuary located in Hoi An, central Vietnam, designed to be a microsanctuary-style property for our rescued domestic and farmed animals.
We currently house around 30 animals across 5 species: cats, dogs, pigs, chickens, and hedgehogs.
Catherine Besch co-founded the organization in 2013 as Vietnam Animal Welfare Organization. After Cat and her co-founder split the organization into two separate entities, Vietnam Animal Aid and Rescue – US was born.
Since 2013, we have greatly evolved from an animal welfare organization to an animal rights organization working towards long-term solutions to end animal suffering for all species.
Our experience in the field of animal rescue in Vietnam includes opening the first rescue shelter in central Vietnam, starting the first nonprofit veterinary clinic in the country, and opening the first farmed animal sanctuary. Although we no longer have the vet clinic, we are working on reopening our mobile veterinary service to conduct vaccination/sterilization projects and prevent suffering before the need for rescue is created.
Our mission is to end the suffering of all species, through mass sterilization, animal rights education, & improving veterinary care across Vietnam. We advocate for a fully vegan lifestyle & abolition of all animal use and exploitation.
VAAR is currently the only animal rights organization in Vietnam that explicitly advocates for a fully vegan lifestyle and the abolition of all animal use in the name of animal rights, the environment, food security, and public health.
Previously, we have achieved our goals through vegan education programs for school children, community outreach for animals in need of emergency medical care, and through the care and adoption of our rescued animals at our sanctuary in Hoi An.
The last two years of lockdown and general crisis affected us a lot, and we are now solely focusing on caring for our aging rescued animals, and working to expand our future projects.
How We Started
What started as a rescue shelter for dogs and cats in Hoi An in 2013, and quickly become much more.
Our original two founders saw a great need for a rescue shelter in Hoi An where animals often receive poor care from owners, are sold by their owners or are stolen for the dog and cat meat trade. They began fundraising, gathered supporters, and started to take in animals.
When they first started working, they were immediately overwhelmed with rescues of kittens found at markets and dogs suffering from cruelty and neglect. It wasn’t long before they realized that the local vets were not able to care for the animals properly due to poor education in veterinary schools, a lack of training in simple surgical procedures like sterilization, and poor access to quality drugs and tools. They needed to expand into building up the capacity of the Vietnamese veterinary community to come to better diagnoses and treatment plans and to perform clean, safe procedures.
At the same time, they saw that the need for better care was for much more than just cats and dogs and they began to rescue chickens, ducks, and even a couple of pigs from the same conditions of suffering, neglect, and abuse. The organization split between the co-founders, and Vietnam Animal Aid and Rescue – US became it’s own animal rights organization.
Cat continued working on non-speciesist animal rights advocacy and the animal and farm sanctuary.
We started the only nonprofit vet clinic in Vietnamese history with a mass sterilization program, mobile clinic, and local vet training. Sadly it had to close in June 2017 due to a lack of funding and staff.
Now we lack a lot of high-level veterinary care and equipment in central Vietnam to properly care for our rescued residents, especially our farmed animal species.
As the first vegan, animal rights organization in Vietnam, we receive a lot of pressure to stop promoting our vegan, non-speciesist message in order to get more donations that will help the organization be more financially sustainable.
However, leaving our morals at the door and spreading a message that you can love and eat animals at the same time as MOST rescues do globally, is detrimental to the international animal rights movement as a whole.
We work hard to ensure that a non-speciesist message is the only way forward for all rescues, but as a result, our donations have taken a huge hit and the ability to continue our programs requires consistent monthly funds.
At our facility just outside the center of Hoi An, we have rescued, rehabilitated, and rehomed (domestically and internationally) hundreds of animals over the past 8 years. We have worked hard to reduce the number of our shelter’s residents through overseas adoptions in order to prepare for a move to a different, larger property.
We usually have about 3 onsite full-time animal caretakers and 1 full-time manager caring for the animals and maintaining the barn and shelter property. They receive excellent care from our staff in a clean and home-like environment.
Where We Are Now
Vietnam Animal Aid is currently working towards maintaining a sustainable income for our around 30 onsite rescued animals, including cats, dogs, pigs, hedgehogs, and chickens. Our rescue shelter is entirely vegan with the exception of dog and cat food.
We are Vietnam’s only non-speciesist, high-welfare rescue shelter, and farm sanctuary.
As a vegan animal rights organization, we advocate for ending the use and exploitation of all animals by humankind, and we advocate for all types of animals whether farmed, wild, domestic, or exotic pets because loving animals means not using them.
Recently, we had to drop the word “Rescue” from our organization’s name, as we are no longer rescuing animals due to a complete lack of financial resources, proper vet care, enough staff, and our aging animal residents who need increasingly more medications, veterinary care, and surgeries. We simply cannot take in any more animals until we have enough resources for our existing residents.
However, we are continuing our fight to bring back quality veterinary care to central Vietnam by opening a new, mixed practice mobile veterinary clinic and training program with international standards running mass sterilization programs only. In this way, we will be working on effective, long-term solutions to preventing animal suffering, rather than cleaning up the mess with rescue only.
Currently, in Vietnam, the dog and cat meat trade is the only method of population control for unwanted animals. Rescue organizations like ours are left with handling an overwhelming number of rescue cases and being stuck in constant financial struggles to take care of the growing number of rescues for which there are no homes.
There are no veterinary clinics or rescue organizations providing training for local veterinary graduates to perform year-round, mass sterilization work throughout the country which would reduce the supply of animals going into the trade.
Simply banning the consumption of dog/cat meat like most animal welfare organizations want to do
is not only inefficient in preventing a surplus of animals from living on the street, but it’s also speciesist and culturally insensitive, as none of these organizations trying to ban dog/cat meat are even talking about doing the same thing for other animal species like cows, pigs, chickens, or sea animals, nor are they talking about solutions for the dogs/cats who are willingly sold for meat as their owners either can’t afford vet care or don’t know how to take care of their sick animals.
Our mobile veterinary clinic will be a center for the work that actually prevents the need for the dog/cat meat trade.
In addition to the current horrendous level of vet care for pets, any animal that is not a cat or dog here is completely out of luck for medical care. Our vets will treat all animals of all species on equal footing, providing top-level care to farmed animals.
We will not participate in any part of livestock production services, teaching vet interns instead that ALL species are deserving of lifesaving treatment and are not to ever be treated as profit machines. A chicken, monkey, snake, and dog all have the same rights to medical treatment.
Veterinary care, like human medical care, should never be considered a luxury good. This is the principle on which we have always operated.
Please help us to build a new generation of well-trained, properly-equipped, and continually educated non-speciesist veterinarians who can truly create the change we need to see for all species of animals.
The Future of Vietnam Animal Aid
We will always keep our focus on non-speciesist, vegan, animal rights education which will advocate for the end of animal suffering. Our two main future project plans include:
1) a vegan farm homestay with the country’s only (and oldest) rescued farmed animals, and
2) a mobile veterinary clinic to conduct sterilization projects that prevent animal suffering before it’s created.
Supporters and donors are helping the only foreign-managed, vegan, animal rights organization in Vietnam that works to prevent animal suffering through mass sterilization and veterinary capacity building, rather than hoarding animals without vet care and talking only of the dog meat trade that ignores the plight of 98% of animals killed in Vietnam.
We are a US 501(c)(3) registered nonprofit tax-exempt organization, so all donations to the organization from Americans will be tax-deductible.
Please help us to help all animals of central Vietnam who are unable to access proper vet care, safe sterilization surgeries, dental care, and diagnostics and treatment at an international standard.