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Taiwan Becomes First Asian Country To Ban Dog And Cat Meat

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Taiwan Becomes First Asian Country To Ban Dog And Cat Meat

Taiwan has become the first country in Asia to ban people from eating cat and dog meat.

Under the new legislation anyone found guilty of eating cat or dog can be slapped with a fine of between NT$50,000 (£1,300) and NT$250,000 (£6,500), the China Post reports.

If those convicted continue to break the law, the government can enforce a fine of up to NT$5m (£130,000) or a jail term of five years, the Guardian reports.

The ban is part of an amendment to animal protection laws, which also covers the selling, possession or purchasing of cat or dog carcasses.

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Credit: Barcroft

Several years ago, Taipei banned the sale of dog meat, but an investigation by the Taipei Times in 2011 found that slaughterhouses and dog meat restaurants were flouting the rules and not being convicted.

One restaurant was found to be serving dog in its lamb hotpot, to help reduce costs. The eating of dogs was pretty widespread in Taiwan in the past, but as attitudes have shifted it's become more rare, the consumption of cat meat is even less common.

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One of the biggest mass slaughters of dogs for food takes place in China every year. The Yulin dog meat festival sees around 10,000 dogs killed and eaten each year, despite protests from animal rights campaigners.

Credit: PA

As well as a hefty fine, anyone found on the wrong side of this law faces a public shaming as their names and photos will be published by the government.

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Pet ownership is increasing across Asia, leading many to reconsider how they feel about eating cats and dogs. Tsai Ing-wen, Taiwan's president, is a well-known cat lover who also adopted three retired guide dogs. The attitude shift from 'meat to pet' is thought to be a big driving force behind the law.

Credit: Barcroft

Alongside the laws on meat, it is now also an offence to walk a dog while it's attached to a motor vehicle, following several reports of dogs being injured or killed when they were forced to run while tied to a car or motorbike.

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Last year a Taiwanese student was sentenced to 10 months in prison for killing two stray cats.

Featured Image Credit: Barcroft

Claire Reid
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