Slaughtering cattle and pigs is good business nowadays in Vietnam and in Ho Chi Minh City alone there are already 42 slaughter units. Though slaughtering has for a long time been considered a low-technology operation and thus not the sort of subject to be taken seriously by researchers, the recent increase of public awareness on environmental problems caused by this activity however attracts more attention. This article provides an analysis of the environmental impacts caused by the small- and medium-sized slaughterhouses in the Ho Chi Minh City and describes the shortcomings and causes of its present poor environmental performance and management. The main environmental problems caused by the small- and medium-sized slaughterhouses are the uncontrolled use of ground water and the discharge of untreated wastewater with high concentrations of organics including animal feces and blood, parasite eggs and pathogenic bacteria that might easily contaminate the receiving environment and endanger human health. The article concludes that the application of a pollution-prevention concept is crucial to improve the environmental performance of small- and medium-sized slaughterhouses in Vietnam.