It’s Now Illegal To Eat Dog And Cat Meat In Taiwan

Taiwan on Tuesday became the first Asian country to outlaw eating dog and cat meat with the passage of a bill that cracks down on animal cruelty,National Geographicreported on Wednesday.

The countrys revised animal protection law previously only targeted the slaughter and sale of dogs and cats for human consumption. Now anyone found eating or buying dog or cat meat faces a fine up to $8,200 as well as their name and photo being publicized.

Additionally, people who deliberately harmed animals face two years in prison and a $65,000 fine under the new law. Pulling an animal on a leash thats tied to a driver or motorcyclist is also punishable with a fine up to $500, the Associated Press reports.

Kim Kyung Hoon / Reuters
Caged dogs are seen ahead of a dog meat festival in Yulin, China, back in 2015. Some of the dogs are sold as pets, while others for their meat.

The Humane Society International readily praised the countrys decision as a monumental step in ending the dog meat trade.

This legislation is going to send a message to the Chinese mainland, Nagaland state in India, Vietnam, Indonesia and other Asian countries where dog meat consumption is still legal that ending the brutal dog meat trade is the positive trend across Asia and a step in the publics long-term interest, Kelly OMeara, HSIs director of companion animals and engagement, said in a statement on Wednesday.

Most people in Asian countries do not eat dog and cat, and most find the cruel and often crime-fueled trade appalling. The animal protection movement is growing rapidly across Asia and the calls for an end to dog meat cruelty are getting louder and louder.

Happy Tails! More Than 50 Dogs Rescued From South Korean Meat Farm

Dog meat is already less common in Taiwan but also consumed in countries like the Philippines, Korea, Indonesia, and China, where theres an annual dog meat festival.

While there are other places in Asia thatalready outlaw killing dogs and cats for consumption, Taiwan is reportedly the first country with laws that specifically target a person eating the animals.

Though HSI estimates that 10-20 million dogs are slaughtered each year in China, making up the majority of the canines consumed around the world, the organization says its not a common dish.

It is not part of mainstream Chinese culinary culture, the HSI states on its website. There is a growing animal protection movement in the country that roundly opposes the dog meat trade, and there are frequent and documented violent clashes between dog thieves and angry dog owners.

The HSI believes that dog meat is likely consumed by older generations and by people who believe it has health benefits.According to Reuters, people in some parts of Taiwan eat dog meat in the winter to improve body warmth and blood circulation.

Last month, theHSI made news after rescuing 55 dogs from a meat farm in Goyang, South Korea.

This story has been updated to better clarify laws in Asia.

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