There was a long discussion in the country about these practices and the parliament finally approved a bill which bans the slaughter of cats and dogs for human consumption. This bill also prohibits people from using a motorbike or even a car to pull their pets along them as they travel as this can seriously injure the pets. The penalty for such actions is to pay a large fine or spend up to two years in prison and the names and photographs of these persons will be made public.
Hopefully An Example For Others
This is the first amendment of this kind in Asia but Taiwan made some progress in this direction in the past as well. In 2001 they passed legislation to ban the sale of meat and fur of pets like cats or dogs for economic purposes and thus this set the tone for this change.
The president of Taiwan Tsai Ing-wen adopted three retired guide dogs last year and she already had two cats called Cookie and A-Tsai, so it was clear that she was trying to set a good example. In this case she was also the main promoter of this change and she is often photographed with her pets, putting pictures on her Facebook page.
Not only will the people who trade dog or cat meat be fined but this also applies to the people who eat it and the penalties are somewhere between $1,640 and $8,200. To add to this, they doubled the maximum prison term for animal cruelty and the fine for it is now up to $65,500 if someone deliberately harms animals resulting in the poor creature’s organ failure or death.
This amendment was pushed after several shocking cases of animal abuse and a video of several military soldiers beating a dog, strangling him and tossing the body into the ocean became viral and started a huge outrage throughout the globe. The Taiwan minister of defense apologized to the public for the incident but it was clear that a drastic change had to be made.
The law hopefully sends a strong signal to other countries where millions of dogs are killed each year and the principal proponents for this situation are China and South Korea. The annual dog meat festival at Yulin puts over 10,000 dogs to death and maybe this will make the other countries become more humane in their habits too.
Jill Robinson, the founder and CEO of the Animals Asia Foundation thinks there is room for optimism: “The public too are becoming increasingly sympathetic with the plight of dogs, recognizing the criminality behind the industry, the enormous benefits that dogs bring to society and the comfort they give to the families they belong to.”