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Taiwan Becomes First Asian Country to Ban Eating Cat, Dog Meat -- Will South Korea, China Follow Suit?

Apr 15, 2017 03:28 PM EDT
dog meat protest
SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA - AUGUST 07: Members of Coexistence for Animal Rights confine themselves in a cage as a protest against eating dog meat on August 7, 2012 in Seoul, South Korea. Dog meat is a traditional dish in Korea dating back to the Samkuk period (period of the three kingdoms BC 57 - AD 668), and July 15 is the day on which some South Koreans eat dog meat in the belief it will help them endure the heat of the summer months.
(Photo : Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

In Taiwan, it's now illegal to consume dog and cat meat. The Taiwanese government, via a new amendment to its Animal Protection Act, will implement hefty fines and jail time for those who will be caught doing the gruesome crime.

The new ordinance will enforce a fine of $8,200 for those who are caught eating dog or cat meat. Meanwhile, a bigger fine of $65,000 and two years in prison will be given for deliberately harming cats and dogs, National Geographic reports.

Repeat offenders will be fined up to $165,000 and will serve five years in jail. Focus Taiwan notes that the new amendment will also ban walking animals using motor vehicles such as having pet dogs on a leash while letting them run alongside their owners' scooters.

The Animal Protection Act was sponsored by Kuomintang Legislator Wang Yu-Min. Taiwan is the first country in Asia to pass a legislation regarding eating cat and dog meat. The new amendment will take effect at the end of this month after Taiwan's Cabinet and Presidential Office sign it.

Despite Taiwan's bold move to end a practice that's deeply embedded in tradition, other neighboring countries, such as China and South Korea, still continue to consume dog and cat meat.

The Yulin festival in China has garnered public outrage as thousands of dogs are killed every year during the controversial practice, The Washington Post reports. Humane Society International says that in China alone, approximately 10 million dogs are slaughtered every year.

Meanwhile, in South Korea, dog farms are legal. There are 17,000 dog farms in the country which are solely focused in producing dog meat for human consumption. In these facilities, dogs receive inhumane treatment and are killed via electrocution.

Adam Parascandola, Director of Animal Protection and Crisis Response for Humane Society International, explained that Taiwan's new amendment is evidence that a “cruel and outdated eating habit” could be ended. He believes that the decision puts China and South Korea in the hot seat to do the same in the future.

“Activists in mainland China will say if Taiwan can do it, then mainland China has no reason not to," Parascandola said.

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