Taipei, Taiwan. For centuries one of the divisions between east and west, has been the attitude that dogs and cats are food for one and beloved family members for others. Now the tiny Asian nation of Taiwan has gone against the divide and made it illegal to consume dog or cat meat.
The island nation of Taiwan, off mainland China’s coast, has become the first country in Asia to ban the consumption of cat and dog meat. People who sell, purchase or eat meat from butchered canines and felines will now face hefty fines and potentially even a prison sentence.
In sweeping legislation, landmark amendments to animal protection laws have been approved by the lawmaking branch of the Taiwanese government. Now offenders will see those found guilty being named, shamed and facing fines of up to $8,000.
Those criminally charged with intentionally harming or torturing animals could meanwhile be jailed for up to two years and fined up to $60,000 while tougher sanctions will apply for repeat offenders.
The new series of laws raises a hosts of issues around animal welfare and reveals changing attitudes in Taiwan, where dogs and cats are now widely seen as pets. Under the new laws, it will also be made illegal to carry animals on a leash alongside dangerous motor vehicles such as scooters, as often happens presently in other Asian cultures.
Many feel the new animal protection laws in Taiwan also send a strong message 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 human consumption.