Taiwan bans killing of dogs and cats for food

It's the first country in Asia to do so

Taiwan has become the first country in Asia to ban the killing of cats and dogs for food.

According to the island's Central News Agency (CNA), offenders could face fines between $1,640 and $8,200 (€50 and €252), as well as up to two years in prison. Violators may also see their names, photos and crimes publicised.

"Taiwan's progressive ban is part of a growing trend across Asia to end the brutal dog meat trade," said Wendy Higgins with Humane Society International.
 
"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.

The new legislation also bans people from using vehicles to pull pets along on leads, as the country continues to crack down on animal cruelty. Taiwan has doubled the maximum prison term for animal cruelty to two years and raised the fine up to $65,500 (€2,002) for any act that deliberately harms animals and results in mangled limbs, organ failure or death.

Animal abuse cases

The new amendment comes after several high profile cases saw activists push for less lenient laws.

Last year, a video showing a group of military personnel beating up a dog, strangling it and tossing the body into the ocean sparked public protests. Taiwan's minister of defense apologized to the public over the incident.

Dog meat is consumed in many parts of Asia including China, the Philippines, Korea and Indonesia, according to Humane Society International.

Higgins said Taiwan's new law also sends "a strong signal" to China and South Korea where millions of dogs are brutally killed as part of the dog meat trade.
 
China has long been criticized for its annual dog meat festival in Yulin, southern China, where 10,000 dogs are slaughtered and served as meals.