Why do Chinese kill dogs

Taiwan is the first Asian country to prohibit dog eating

Taiwan's crackdown marks a significant advance in the fight against killing dogs and cats for food - a centuries-old East Asian tradition that is still legal in China, South Korea, and the Philippines. Adam Parascandola, director of Animal Protection and Crisis Response at Humane Society International, believes Taiwan's decision is evidence that a traditional practice need not be an obstacle to ending a "cruel and outdated eating habit."

While the public focus nature of the dog meat industry seems to suggest a widespread and deeply entrenched cultural practice - the Humane Society International estimates that 30 million dogs are killed in Asia each year - in fact, most Chinese do not eat dog meat at all. According to an Animals Asia study from 2015, less than a quarter of Chinese in large cities like Beijing and Shanghai had eaten dog meat in the previous two years.

South Korea is seeing a similar trend away from dog meat, especially among young people. Even so, the Animal Welfare Institute - a nonprofit animal welfare organization in Washington, D.C. - that two million dogs are killed in the country every year. With the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyongyang approaching, Korea is facing increasing pressure to crack down on industry. In December 2016, authorities called for a gradual end to slaughter in Seoul's Moran Market - the country's largest dog meat market, which sells 80,000 dogs annually. So far, traders have refused and are at a dead end with activists and authorities on the future of the market, which continues to operate.

Parascandola believes Taiwan's decision will put China and South Korea under further pressure: "The activists in mainland China will say that if Taiwan can do it, there is no reason for mainland China not to do it."