11:50 GMT05 March 2021
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    Taiwan outlawed dog and cat meat for human consumption, as the country's legislature passed a landmark amendment to its animal protection laws. It comes after several high profile animal cruelty scandals sparked street protests in the island nation.

    In a first in Asia, dog and cat are officially off the menu in Taiwan. Taiwan's parliament has amended its Animal Protection Act to ban the sale, purchase or human consumption of cat and dog meat.

    Offenders flouting the act will be named and shamed, as well as being hit with a stiff fine of up to 250,000 Taiwan New Dollars, or US$8,300.

    Dog meat is considered a delicacy by some in Asia, while others simply use dog as a cheap substitute source of meat. Cat meat is less regularly eaten, but was sometimes consumed.

    However, the tide of public opinion against eating animals that are also kept as pets has been turning in recent years.

    Taiwanese leader Tsai Ing-wen is known for her love of cats, even posing with them while campaigning for the presidency in 2016.

    There have also been several animal cruelty scandals to hit Taiwan.

    In 2016, Taiwan's defense minister publicly apologized after a video surfaced of three soldiers torturing and strangling a stray dog to death with an iron chain, prompted street protests.

    The bill's amendment has now toughened the penalty for animal abuse, increasing jail time from a one-year sentence to a two-year sentence.

    Fines have been doubled from US$33,000 to US$66,000, while repeat offenders could face a maximum five-year sentence or US$167,000 fine.


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