Taiwan banns the eating of cats and dogs

Taiwan passes first law in Asia to ban the eating of cats and dogs. Taiwan has passed landmark animal protection laws imposing fines for the consumption of dog and cat meat as well as jail time for those who kill and torture animals.

Dogs sitting in cages to be sold on the Chinese dog meat festival. © EPA

The Animal Protection Act amendments approved by the Legislative Yuan on Tuesday punish the sale, purchase or consumption of dog or cat meat with fines ranging from NT$50,000 to NT$2 million.

The bill also hiked the penalty for killing or abusing animals to a maximum two-year jail term and a stiff fine of Tw$2 million, more than doubling that for repeat offenders.

“This shows that Taiwan is a society with advanced animal welfare,” said Wang Yu-min, who proposed the amendment.

In contrast to Myanmar and China eating dogs and cats was already not popular in Taiwan. Keeping pets in recent decades has become increasingly common in the country, probably because the birth rate is falling, and people are looking for a replacement for a child.

The Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen three of her adopted dogs. © RV

The current president of Taiwan, Tsai Ing-wen, is taking an avid animal lover. During her campaign, she distributed regularly via social media photos of her two cats and three dogs.

Eating dog and cat in China is still a delicacy, although cat meat would become less and less popular.

Like some other Asian nations, dog consumption was common in Taiwan decades ago and although it is much rarer now, there have been sporadic reports of shops being caught selling dog meat in recent years. A string of much-publicised animal abuse cases has also triggered deep public concern, and demands for tougher protection laws.

Last year, the military was forced to apologise after a video surfaced of three soldiers torturing and strangling a stray dog to death with an iron chain, prompting several street protests.