I have the great opportunity to volunteer for Animals Asia team in Vietnam, where I have met wonderful individuals who are devoting their life to protect animals and promote animal rights. This week, I have the privilege to have a quick interview with Thu Huong, one of the key members here at Animals Asia, so that we can all know more about the work of Animals Asia in Vietnam and her thoughts on sustainability.
Tram Anh: Can you introduce briefly about you and your works at Animals Asia Vietnam?
Thu Huong: First of all, thank you for inviting me today to talk about sustainability. I think it’s a really exciting and meaningful topic. I’m Thu Hường, animal welfare assistant in Animals Asia Foundation (AAF). My main work in AAF is to raise public’s awareness about welfare of animals through public events, social media or educational projects. I have a really wonderful captive animal welfare team who have a lot of experience and knowledge working with wildlife animals. Some of them are foreigners but they love Vietnam and truly want to end animals suffering in Vietnam. I really appreciate it and I have learned a lot of things from my team.
Tram Anh: How is Animals Asia helping the wildlife in Vietnam? Could you please share with us?
Thu Huong: AAF focus on 3 things: End bear bile farming, Cat and dog welfare and Captive animal welfare. But in Vietnam, we mostly focus on end bear bile farming and captive animal welfare. We have one bear sanctuary in Tam Dao where we rescue and take care of bears. In addition, we’re also participating in investigation, improving animal welfare standards, improving public awareness and engaging with Vietnamese government improve animal laws.
Beside that, we’re also working with government centers, national parks and facilities to help them improve and renovate enclosures, training their staff to take care of wildlife animals,...
Tram Anh: From your professional point of view, what are the main roots of environmental and wildlife problems in Vietnam in the last 20 years? Do you think there will be any change, both positive and negative, in the future?
Thu Huong: I think the biggest problem, not only in Vietnam but in the world also, is wildlife trafficking, both legal and illegal. It happened throughout our history and still very urgent in the last 20 years. Wildlife have been traded for human’s consumption, for entertainment purpose, for mystical medicines or for pet trading because some of the animals are really cute and someone have to own it. This made a particularly negative impact on their population in the wild. Many species have been announced extinct in the wild or on the verge of extinct because of that. It’s not good for our life and our planet because every live things in the world have their own role, it made a perfect ecology in our planet. Too much or too little is both not balance and sustainability.
Fortunately, things seem to be going better. People are more and more aware of protecting wildlife animals. A lot of projects and organisations are now working in different ways to protect them, and young generation is also aware of and takes action to protect animals and bring a better life for them. There still is very long way ahead but I think together we can make positive changes.
Tram Anh: What are your greatest tips for people to pursue a life with less negative environmental impacts, especially in a developing country like Vietnam?
Thu Huong: Sound quite strange but my first tip is going inside yourself. Going inside to know more about yourself, love yourself and from that you will more and more love and respect the natural around you and do not want to harm the environment. Slow down and enjoy life.
I must confess that I love shopping. Every time I depressed I used to go and spend money, it really made me feel better. I’m trying to change it now, spend money still makes me feel good but now I know that everything I buy costs natural resources and makes bad impacts on the environment. Now I just buy something I really need. My second tip is when you want to buy something, just add it in your cart and wait a few days, when you comeback if you still want to buy it so buy it. Because sometimes people just want to buy it temporarily, they are not really need it. So just wait ☺ Save money save life ☺
And when you go shopping, just take one more step, check brand. Shopping from eco brands, cruelty brands can make a huge impact, it’ll bring a better life for animals and for the environment. I am not expert, it's just a little tips in daily life, everyone can do it.
Tram Anh: How about sustainability, do you think your lifestyle is sustainable enough? If not, are you doing any change to make it more sustainable?
Thu Huong: I think to live a sustainable lifestyle is quite hard because everything around us is not sustainable at all. I’m still far to become a completely sustainable lifestyle person but I'm trying :)) starting with little things in my daily life, cut off using single-use plastic, using eco products. My brother has a small farm where he plants without using any chemistry products, he sent me a lot of eco products to use such as shampoo, sauce fish (but it's not made from fish, it made from pineapple and salt),…
Everyone now, particularly young people, is more aware that people is taking and wasting too much from nartural resources. More and more eco-friendly and sustainable products have been created and from that I have more choices. I truly hope that people can join me and with me step by step live a sustainable lifestyle.
I’ve also tried to tell some people selling goods in the market to reduce using single-use plastic. They said to me that they also want to cut off it and happy to see people use their bags instead of plastic bags. Sometimes, they even gave me more stuff because I carried my own bag. I think we have a brighter future ahead if we continue raise people awareness about sustainability and have good policies about that.
Tram Anh:Thank you so much for spending your busy time with me today! I hope the best for all of the works of Animals Asia in Vietnam!
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