With its Animal Protection Act, Taiwan has become the first Asian country to make the consumption, purchase, or sale of cat and dog meat illegal. The law was approved by the Legislative Yuan on Tuesday.
New fines will be imposed for those that break the law, plus jail time to anyone that kills or tortures animals.
The fines range from $1,635 (NT$50,000) to $65,434 (NT$2 million).
China Post reports,
The amendment’s sponsor, Kuomintang Legislator Wang Yu-min, said that while some localities already had measures banning dog and cat meat consumption, national legislation was needed.
She noted that Taiwan was the first country in Asia to pass such legislation.
The amendments also stiffen punishment for those who intentionally harm animals to a maximum two years’ imprisonment and fines of NT$200,000 to NT$2 million.
Repeat offenders can be jailed for one to five years and fined NT$500,000 to NT$5 million.
And pet owners can say goodbye to having their leashed dogs run alongside their scooters.
The amendments also make it illegal to “walk” animals via motor vehicles. Violators will be fined up to NT$15,000.
The amendments, which still need to be signed off on by the Cabinet and the Presidential Office, could take effect by as early as the end of this month.
Rising awareness of animal welfare in Taiwan has driven momentum for those seeking stronger animal protection laws, with growing indignation that most animal cruelty offenders are “let off too easy” without serving any jail time.
In recent years, high-profile cases of animal torture, including by members of the armed forces, have caused public outrage.
Why did it take so long for this law to come to fruition in Taiwan? When will other Asian countries follow? Let us know your thoughts on this new law on Facebook and in the comments below.