This week, our fight against the global dog meat trade got an enormous lift with Taiwan’s legislature amending its anti-cruelty law and banning the trade and the consumption of our best friends.
Taiwan becomes the latest nation in the region to make an emphatic statement and to curb the trade and the first to include a ban on the cat trade. Hong Kong, the Philippines, and Thailand also have dog meat bans in place.
As we’ve seen with our campaigns to pass anti-cruelty laws and anti-animal fighting laws, these efforts build as more jurisdictions come on board. With a population of more than 23 million, Taiwan is no small actor, embracing humane treatment in an emphatic way. Animal-cruelty acts are now punishable by up to two years in prison and a fine of 200,000 to 2 million new Taiwan dollars (about $6,500 to $65,400).
Humane Society International estimates that people kill and consume 30 million dogs a year, almost all of them in Asia. We are campaigning diligently in South Korea—which has thousands of dog meat farms—and in the run-up to the 2018 winter Olympics we are redoubling our efforts in the nation. The world will be horrified to learn of this sordid industry, and we believe South Korean leaders will want to promote a transition of people involved in this business to other trades. What an inspiring story that would be about the power and resolve of this nation to eradicate this anachronism from its 21st century economy. Already, we’ve shut down many dog meat farms across South Korea, helped transition farmers to humane livelihoods, and transported more than 800 dogs to the U.S., Canada, and the United Kingdom for rehabilitation and adoption.
And in China, which is in the process of shutting down its ivory-carving operations, it’s quite possible that the world’s largest nation will also take action to stop this trade. Animal welfare is on the rise, with a domestic movement gaining momentum and focusing a good share of its energy on this very problem. Outlawing dog meat trade has been the subject of legislative proposals submitted to China’s national legislature in the last few years. In 2016, one such legislative proposal was supported by more than 9 million Chinese netizens
We want the U.S. to do exactly what we’re asking of South Korea and China. In the Congress, Representatives Alcee L. Hastings, D-Fla., Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., Dave Trott, R-Mich., and Brendan Boyle, D-Pa., introduced a bill last month to prevent domestic trade and imports of dog meat.
There’s no place for killing dogs in a world that loves them and treats them as family members. Never as food.