Taiwan has banned consuming cat and dog meat nationwide.
Though there had been local legislation against eating feline and canine meat, national legislation was lacking in Taiwan until now. Legislature was recently passed to amend the Animal Protection Act to include a monetary punishment fine of up to 250,000 Taiwan dollars and jail time for the slaughter of cats and dogs for consumption.
The same penalties will be applied to offenders who deliberately harm cats, dogs, and protected animals. The sale of these animals' meat has also been outlawed.
"Previously, the Animal Protection Act only covered the slaughter and sale of dog and cat meat, but this amendment specifically prohibiting the actual consumption of dog meat today is welcome," said Jill Robinson, founder and CEO of Animals Asia Foundation.
In addition to the monetary fines and serving up to two years in prison, the offender's name and photo may be publicized in Taiwanese publications and online.
The final amendment to the Animal Protection Act prohibits motorists from riding scooters while leading a pet on a leash. This offense can bring up to $15,000 fines in Taiwanese dollars.
These amendments to the law are in response to more Taiwanese families caring for cats and dogs as pets rather than for consumption.
Taiwan is one of the first Asian countries to truly ban the consumption of cats and dogs. Canine meat is still consumed in the Philippines, Korea, Indonesia, and China, with the Yulin dog meat festival being the most publicized example.
These amendments could mark the change for many Asian countries as opposition grows toward consuming dogs.
"The public too are becoming increasingly sympathetic with the plight of dogs, recognizing the criminality behind the industry, the enormous benefits that dogs bring to society and the comfort they give to the families they belong to," Jill Robinson said.
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