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Taiwan bans sale, consumption of dog and cat meat

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    A Taiwanese man holds his dog during a gathering in September 2011 to demand establishment of a government department to protect dogs and cats from their owners who abused or dumped the animals in Taipei, Taiwan.

BEIJING >> Taiwan’s legislature has explicitly banned the sale and consumption of dog and cat meat and increased the penalty for animal cruelty, underscoring growing awareness of animal welfare in one of Asia’s most prosperous societies.

The legislature amended Taiwan’s animal protection law to double the maximum penalty for deliberate harm to animals to two years in prison and a fine of $65,000.

People who sell or eat dog or cat meat face a fine of up to $8,000 and their names and photos may be publicized. Drivers and motorcyclists who pull animals along on a leash also face a fine of up to $500, according to the amendments passed today.

While consumption of dogs and cats was never widespread in Taiwan, the amendments point to increasing concern for the treatment of animals on the island, where many residents lavish money and attention on their pets amid a plunging birthrate. Two decades after Taiwan began grappling with the abandonment of pets and other problems, the island has some of the most comprehensive protections on the books anywhere in Asia.

President Tsai Ing-wen’s team portrayed her as an animal lover during her election campaign, focusing on her two cats. She later adopted three dogs.

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