Other regions throughout the world consume meats that may be strange to us westerners. The dog and cat meat trade have been a part of many regions such as China for a long time. But for the first time ever, one country is stopping this. In an announcement made public Tuesday, Taiwan has made the consumption of dog and cat meat illegal.
“Taiwan’s progressive ban is part of a growing trend across Asia to end the brutal dog meat trade,” said Wendy Higgins with Humane Society International.
Those that are caught with cat or dog meat in their possession can expect to face a fine of $1,640 and $8,200 and their arrest is made public to shame those involved, according to the island’s Central News Agency.
There was legislation put forth previously to stop the slaughter of dogs and cats for their meat, but the legislation didn’t punish individuals for consuming it.
It is also now illegal to walk a dog on a leash while driving a car or motorcycle even though in the past, this has been a somewhat commonplace occurrence.
These stricter animal cruelty laws are something the Humane Society International has been striving towards for years.
Taiwan has also created lengthier maximum prison sentences for repeat offenders who are found guilty of animal cruelty. Instead of one a one-year sentence, Taiwan officials have increased the sentence to two years of incarceration and a fine of $65,000.
Taiwan’s president, Tsai Ing-wen, played a large part in bringing these changes to the country. Ing-wen is a strong animal advocate; she often had her two cats with her on her campaign trail. She also announced shortly after the legislation passed that she has adopted three former guard dogs.
The new legislation sends a strong message to China and South Korea where the dog meat trade remains prominent and legal. China, which holds its annual dog meat festival in Yulin, is one of the neighboring countries in the region that will hopefully follow Taiwan’s lead in this area.