Taiwan is close to officially making the eating of dog and cat meat illegal, in an animal-friendly step not likely to be replicated on the other side of the strait.
On Tuesday, the Legislative Yuan approved a landmark amendment to Taiwan’s Animal Protection Act, banning the selling, purchasing, consumption or possession of dog or cat meat with offenders facing fines of between NT$50,000 (US$1600) to NT$250,000 (US$8100) and having photos of themselves publicized, according to Focus Taiwan News.
The amendment was sponsored by Kuomintang legislator Wang Yu-min who said that the new regulation was the first of its kind in Asia. Back in 2001, the island first banned the sale of dog and cat meat.
Additionally, Taiwan’s top legislature also passed an amendment on Tuesday that cracks down on individuals who commit acts of animal cruelty, punishing those who intentionally harm animals with a maximum of two years in prison and fines of between NT$50,000 (US$1600) to NT$2 million ($65,000).
Before taking effect, the amendments stills need to be signed into law by the Cabinet and Presidential Office. That could take place before the end of the month.
The amendments come in response to some high-profile incidents of animal cruelty which have left Taiwanese residents disturbed and disgusted. Last year, a video went viral of a group of Taiwanese marines viciously beating a dog before hanging it and throwing its lifeless body into the ocean, triggering an investigation and sparking public protests.
Of course, China has witnessed a number of shocking incidences of animal abuse in recent years, but Chinese legislators have so far done nothing to change the country’s extremely weak animal protection laws, allowing sickos to torture animals without consequence.
Meanwhile, the city of Yulin in Guizhou province continues to attract international condemnation each summer while hosting its controversial dog meat festival at which some 10,000 dogs are slaughtered.
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