World Bulletin / News Desk
Taiwan has banned the eating of dogs and cats, lawmakers said Wednesday. as pressure grows to improve animal welfare after a spate of cruelty cases that stirred public outrage.
Parliament passed legislation to outlaw the consumption, purchase or possession of dog and cat meat, with offenders facing a fine of up to Tw$250,000 ($8,170).
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 lawmaker Wang Yu-min who proposed the amendment.
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 meet in recent years.
As well, a string of much-publicised animal abuse cases triggered deep public concern, and demands for tougher protection laws.
In 2014, a male hippo famous for regularly performing at a private zoo in central Taiwan died after breaking a leg and sustaining other injuries during transportation, sparking a public outcry.
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