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Blind Eye Turned to Cattle Smuggled into Quang Tri

10 July 2009

VIET NAM - Cattle are being smuggled illegally into central Quang Tri Province over the Laos border, while Vietnamese health authorities struggle to control a host of deadly animal diseases, according to reports from the country.

The animals are transported from Thailand to Muong Noong and Kleang villages in Laos before entering Viet Nam through the Lao Bao border gate. The border officials appear to be complicit in the process as tens of animals are transported into the country without proper documentation or health certificates.

Once over the border, the animals are pastured in Quang Tri’s Huong Hoa District and smugglers pay the locals VND70,000-100,000 (US$3.93- 5.62) a day for taking care of up to 50 buffaloes and/or cows at a time.

After grazing in the area for several days, the cattle are shipped to the province’s capital city of Dong Ha and then distributed by the smugglers across the country.

On average, the smugglers make around VND2-3 million ($112-169) a week from each cow or buffalo.

In the last 10 years, Lao Bao Customs – a separate entity from the Lao Bao border gate – has documented just one instance of cattle transportation across the border by legal means, according to customs head Ho Si Tri, adding that it was a large shipment of 200 cows.

Tri said that smugglers are often able to bypass the official customs channels and therefore, it is difficult to crack down on the activity. “We’re not capable or responsible of keeping track of cattle imported illegally,” he said.

Le Van Huy, deputy head of the Lao Bao border guards, said his unit has never busted a case of cattle smuggling, adding, “we’ll check it out.”

According to locals, smugglers had a more difficult time making profits last year, as many cows and buffalos became sick after contracting unknown diseases.

TheCattleSite News Desk



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