In a watershed moment for animal rights, Taiwan has banned the practice of consuming cats or dogs and instituted stiff fines and jail time for those found to be involved with the trade of such animals for meat.
Whether the island nation’s Asian neighbors will follow suit is yet to be seen, but the fact remains that the Animal Protection Act amendments approved by Taiwan’s government are some of the most progressive and sweeping measures a country in Southeast Asia has ever put forth in establishing rights for domestic animals.
Those found guilty of buying, selling, or eating dog or cat meat in Taiwan face between NT $50,000 (USD $1,635.86) and NT $2 million (USD $65,434.32) in fines. Repeat offenders could face up to five years of imprisonment as well. Also included in the amendments are provisions against walking or running pets alongside motorized vehicles, another popular practice among pet owners that has come under strict scrutiny.
“Previously, the Animal Protection Act only covered the slaughter and sale of dog and cat meat, but this amendment specifically prohibiting the actual consumption of dog meat today is welcome,” Jill Robinson, founder and CEO of Animals Asia Foundation, told CNN.