Taiwan bans the consumption of cat and dog meat

Animal activists around the world are celebrating as Taiwan becomes the first Asian country to ban the sale and consumption of cat and dog meat.
By Latasha Seow
Published on Monday, 17 April 2017


The consumption of dog and cat meat in East Asian countries such as China, Taiwan and South Korea has long since sparked an outcry to ban the practice from all over the world. Taiwan’s momentous ban on this tradition of eating dog and cat meat was announced on Tuesday, 11 April.


A fine of between NT$200,000 (S$2,300) and NT$2 million (S$92,021) will be imposed on anyone who sells, purchases or consumes dog or cat meat in Taiwan. Offenders will also have their names put up publicly to shame them. This was amended from the previous law which only stated that slaughtering dogs and cats was illegal, without mention of selling or buying of the meat.


As part of this change in animal welfare laws in Taiwan, those who intentionally harm animals will now serve a jail time of up to two years–an increase from the previous  maximum of one year. Walking one’s dog while on a motorised vehicle is also illegal now and offenders can face a fine of up to NT$15,000 (S$690).


Although it seems as though the practice of eating dog and cat meat is deeply entrenched in some Asian countries (namely China and South Korea), there has been a shift away from the consumption of dog and cat meat among the people in Asia. A study carried out by Animals Asia in 2015 shows that less than a quarter of Chinese people living in major cities have consumed dog meat between 2013 and 2015. In South Korea, the Moran Market, which is the largest dog meat market in the country, has begun its gradual move to shutting down as of February this year.


Now that Taiwan has set the example, it is hoped that other countries that carry out this practice will implement rules to outlaw this centuries-old tradition as well.