In recent years, with the advance of social media, the deplorable dog and cat meat trades within China, South Korea, Vietnam and Indonesia have become a mainstream issue among the international community. No one really associated Taiwan with this trade however and certainly no one on social media was talking about it.
World Protection for Dogs and Cats in the Meat Trade started our own petition demanding Taiwan impose higher penalties to really make a difference and we are so thankful collective campaigning has worked. Yesterday, the country of Taiwan passed amendments to the Animal Protection Act, which will criminalise the slaughter, sale and
consumption of dogs and cats nationally. People found guilty of the crime will face hefty fines and jail time. This is a wonderful step in the right direction and motivates us all to keep campaigning.
Here is the story of the Taiwan campaign in more detail.
Concerned Citizens From Taiwan Contacted The Charity
Last year our charity was contacted by a retired army officer from Taiwan who ran a Facebook group where concerned Taiwanese citizens posted photographic evidence of dogs and cats being tortured for their meat. We were surprised to hear this. He explained that the people torturing and eating the dogs were all Vietnamese migrant workers in Taiwan. He said that on average, 180,000 Vietnamese people, mainly young men, were coming to Taiwan each year to work as low skilled labourers and they were the ones killing and eating the stray cats and dogs – often in horrific torturous ways as the pictures showed.
Over the weeks our new friend continued to send us profile after profile, of young Vietnamese men torturing and eating stray dogs and cats, whilst working in Taiwan. With the consumption of dogs and cats being illegal in Taiwan, it was clear the Vietnamese workers did not pay attention to the law, as they posted their conquests on their Facebook pages.
NoToDogMeat Took Action
Over the weeks our new friend continued to send us dozens of Facebook pages with pictures of cruelty, posted by Vietnamese men torturing and eating stray dogs and cats whilst working in Taiwan. With the consumption of dogs and cats being illegal in Taiwan, it was clear the Vietnamese workers were ignoring the law, as they brazenly posted their conquests so publicly on their Facebook pages. The maximum fine of only £200 clearly was not working as a deterrent. In response we decided to help our Taiwanese friends in their campaign by starting two of petitions that people anywhere in the world could sign. Our friend had previously told us that we should try and show the Taiwanese government how strong was the feeling about the weak laws among the international community and that quite possibly, they would feel ashamed.
First of all, our charity’s CEO Julia started this petition to the Taiwanese Council of Agriculture:
In conjunction, her good friend who lobbies on behalf of the organisation Occupy UN 4 Animals, created this petition, showing the shocking pictures of torture:
We delivered Our Petitions to Taiwanese Government
Once we had gained a couple of thousand signatures on the petitions, we sent them off, along with photos taken from dozens of profiles of Vietnamese workers, who were proudly torturing Taiwanese stray cats and dogs.
We also attached details of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, which speak of civil society, where governments are being called on to uphold the rule of law. We also printed out UN extracts and paragraphs that described the caring animal welfare ethos of the new UN Agenda. We explained the problem of the Vietnamese workers in Taiwan, as well as asking if the Taiwanese government might help us raise the issue of dog and cat meat torture to other Asian countries.
We were delighted a few weeks later when we received responses, both from the Office of the Taiwanese President and from the Taiwanese Council of Agriculture, Executive Yuan.
The replies can be seen here:
We were surprised to hear that on arrival at the Taiwanese Airport, the Vietnamese workers were actually given hand books and shown videos on how to treat animals properly, as well as being given warnings not to catch or eat dogs and cats. They mentioned that employers of immigrant labourers were also instructed to inform their workers not to eat dogs and cats.
Further Contact from Taiwanese Activists Working With NoToDogMeat
When he saw the replies our Taiwanese friend whose group collects the pictures of the Vietnamese labourers said “but the Vietnamese are still doing it and they are still posting it on Facebook”. Sadly he was right. There were still more and more profiles showing the torture of dogs and cats. We told him we would gain more signatures on the petitions, write a stronger letter informing them that their fine of £200 was no deterrent, and we would send more photos of the profiles of Vietnamese labourers torturing dogs, which we sent off two months later.
In light of all this we are of course delighted to discover the latest reforms of the Taiwanese law earlier this week. Firstly, the fine for eating dog and cat meat has risen to £6,500. Secondly, anyone caught torturing dogs and cats can now go to prison for two years and face a fine of £50,000. We think these changes send a message that the Taiwanese authorities mean business. We are hopeful that this will be enough to stop the Vietnamese Facebook posters at least from torturing dogs whilst in Taiwan.
Our plan now is to send reports to the Vietnamese government, showing them the same evidence and details of the new penalties set by the Taiwanese authorities. We will make it clear to them that these changes have been brought about as a direct result of Vietnamese labourers behaving so badly abroad. We hope this might shame and galvanise the Vietnamese authorities into action and to introduce new laws where currently there are none.
We will also send details to the UN Development Program Vietnam, and make the Vietnamese government aware of this and make sure they know about the animal welfare ethos of the new UN Agenda.
Will Dog Meat Be Banned in The Rest of Asia?
As for China and South Korea, the fact is that Taiwan has now set a clear precedent. We can start sending details of the heavy penalties set by Taiwan, to these offending nations, to show exactly what kind of an example they should follow. Already news of Taiwan’s strict new penalties are appearing in Chinese media and, no doubt, in the South Korea too.
In the meantime we would like to say a huge thank you to our dear friend, lobbying organisation Occupy UN 4 Animals for their heartfelt, professional and result-bearing letters to the Taiwanese President and others, and to our lovely Taiwanese friend, the retired soldier, for his continuing activism and his bravery.
What Can You Do To Help?
NoToDogMeat runs a partner shelter in China with over 400 dogs and 40 cats and we need your help. We need $20,000 to complete the building of our medical shelter which will run spay and neuter /microchipping and critical care for dogs and cats that are still in danger from the meat trade. Our wonderful partner Mr Zhao who is a vegan has a plan also to run education programmes to local schools. Please help us continue this work.
Please donate today.
Following the impeachment of South Korean President Park Geun-hye in March 2017, The Mayor of Seoul Mr Wonsoon Park has been touring Europe to discuss the role of Citizen Democracy in the political arena. Our CEO Julia De Cadenet met with him two days ago on Monday morning to highlight how animal welfare advocates also have a voice that needs to be heard.
Later in the afternoon we held a small protest outside the Korean Embassy, where the staff were extremely welcoming. They kindly allowed us to present our data (which included details of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and some photos showing the torture of dogs for their meat) inside the embassy. Embassy staff members also came out to talk to us.
For the first time in our 5 years of campaigning they apologised for the suffering of the animals and acknowledged that even though the live slaughter of dogs has ceased at Moran Market, they understand our concerns that there could still be abuse happening at the dog farms.
We all have a long way to go, but today we really felt we were heard and we continue to stand in solidarity with our activist friends DASOM CCSOGAON 통합시민사회단체 가온 (대표 이중호) in Korea.
Join us tomorrow at Kensington High Street Tube for leafleting and fundraising.
This year our team went to Crufts with our wonderful campaign dog Apache. Although we do not believe in buying dogs or cats in light of the fact there are so many homeless dogs in shelters, it was a great opportunity to meet some of the amazing suppliers of ethical products. We now run a partner shelter South of Beijing which is currently home to – at the last count – around 400 dogs and 36 cats and it is a huge task just to feed the dogs each month.
Our plan is to build a medical facility on-site for Mr Zhao set up and runs the shelter. We already have the 150 square metre structure so now we have a ‘wish list’ of items that we need to purchase or have donated to us. We are looking for letter writers who can help us obtain some of these items from their vets or local pet stores. One action you can take is to nominate us for a light therapy machine.
We still hope to meet with the Kennel Club on the global issue of dog breeding and puppy farms.
The Suffering of Abandoned Pedigrees in China
Coincidentally this month just recently nearly a dozen standard poodles were rescued by Mr Zhao complete with their pedigree certificate. They were no longer of use and being sold from the farms to the slaughterhouse. Just look how adorable they are.
We really need your help to cover their care and find them homes please donate urgently or get in touch to adopt.
Some of poodles recently rescued at our Beijing partner shelter.
Our South Korean activist friends at Ccsogaon, formerly known as Dasom are worried. And they have every reason to be. A few weeks back, the butchery facilities at Moran Market in Seongnam City were dismantled along with the dog cages. Many people on social media were very happy and hopeful, assuming that this would mean an end to the sale of dog and cat meat, at least in Seongnam City.
Dog cages being removed from Moran Market.
This has come about due to activists lobbying the Seongnam City government. It was also helped along by regular protesting at the market itself, by Ccsogaon/Dasom, and other brave activist groups. However they are extremely concerned right now, because although the butchery facilities and dogs have gone, the market still continues to sell dog meat. It is now packaged and kept in refrigerators.
The team at Ccsogaon inform us that there are still many dog meat farms in existence, where the meat is being produced and packaged. At the end of last year there was some talk of the South Korean Parliament improving the laws around cruelty towards dogs and cats. These laws, have not come into effect yet, but hopefully will do soon. There was however, never any talk at Parliament on banning the sale or consumption of dog and cat meat.
Activists at Moran Market
At No To Dog Meat, we are against the consumption of dogs and cats and our CEO has been campaigning at the World Animal Health Organization for the last few years, presenting evidence on the human health risks of eating dogs, and urging them to declare dog/cat meat unfit for human consumption.
Around two years ago, after meeting with the Chinese representative of the World Animal Health Organization, the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture surprisingly made a statement about dog meat being a risk to human health, though not much has changed in China yet, it is still a step in the right direction. This kind of statement has not yet been made by the South Korean Ministry of Agriculture.
Dogs at Moran Market.
In the meantime, we soldier on, our Charitable Objective number 5 states that we are:
“Campaigning for animal welfare laws to be respected and enforced both on an international and national level for animals in the dog and cat meat trade at all levels, including dog farms, live transport of dogs and cats for slaughter; slaughter house regulations and/or suppression of boiling/skinning and blow torching live dogs and cats in the meat markets.”
We do live in hope, however, that dog and cat meat consumption will be banned in South Korea one day soon, and when the current president, Park Geun-hye steps down early, due to corruption charges, it could be the start. When she was elected a few years back, her main opposition opponent Moon Jae-in, a former leader of Democratic Party of Korea, stated he wanted to ban all dog and cat meat. We live in hope that he, or someone like him will be a kinder future president and make those changes one day.
A farm visited by activists last year.
Right now though, the Ccsogaon activists are fearing the worst – that the dogs in the remote farms are still being tortured to death, and that dog meat will one day be made legal.
Now they tell us their next move is to do an investigation into the slaughter at the dog farms, to gather more evidence to take to the governments and to parliament. We sent them a small donation towards this and they would like to thank our supporters for this. They have informed us the money will be used to pay for transport to the dog farms, which are in remote locations on the outskirts of the cities and that they have several dog farms on their list to go to.
If you would like to donate specifically towards this group’s investigation, please send a small donation via pay pal to email@example.com and put a note in, to tell us it is for the investigation.
Meanwhile we are still lobbying the World Animal Health Organization, asking them to keep raising the human health risks of eating dog meat, and we want to push the Korean Department of Agriculture to declare this fact, in the same way the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture declared it, two years ago.
We have been assisting Mr Zhao at his Beijing Shelter with small regular grants. He has recently gone into debt with the shelter and has had to sell his car and has no money for his dog’s food.
Can you help at all with a one-off or small regular donation?
Figures on our donate page can be changed – to whatever you can afford – even a few dollars or pounds. Thank you and bless your heart for sharing