Taiwan bans sale, consumption of dog and cat meat

Taiwan has passed legislation banning the slaughter of dogs and cats for human consumption.

The law includes sale and possession of goods containing dog and cat parts.

Those who violate the island's animal protection law now face two years in prison and a stiff fine of 2 million Taiwan dollars ($65,000 U.S.).

The island's legislature on Tuesday amended the Animal Protection Act, imposing steeper fines and lengthier punishments for acts related to animal cruelty. The offender's name and photograph will be made public.

Last year, the Taiwanese military had faced flak and had to apologise after a video emerged of three soldiers torturing and strangling a stray dog to death with an iron chain.

The bill also bans the "walking" of dogs by attaching their leash to their owner's scooter or auto and forcing them to run alongside.

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At a dog meat festival in Guilin, in southern China, 10,000 dogs are slaughtered each year to make traditional dishes.

According to the China Post, some localities in Taiwan have already taken measures banning dog and cat meat consumption but there was no national legislation against the practice. Tsai even brought her two adopted cats along on the campaign trail prior to her election previous year, while promising to do more to protect animals, reports the Telegraph.

Tsai, who is Taiwan's first female leader, attracted attention at the time with what was dubbed the country's new "first family".

"Taiwan also sends a strong signal to countries such as China and South Korea where the dog meat trade remains and millions of dogs are killed by beating, hanging or electrocution for eating".

The consumption of cats and dogs has been rare in contemporary Taiwan, but some cases have cropped up occasionally, usually in rural areas and other locations where living conditions are relatively poor.

An official with the Animals Asia Foundation also hailed the move.

  • Sonia Alvarado