Korea and a few other Asian countries have a controversial history of consuming cats and dogs. Whereas the mere thought of eating Buddy for dinner is stomach-churning to most Westerners, the notion is not as unusual in many parts of Asia — there is even an annual dog-eating festival in Korea. However, in the wake of some recent high-profile cases of animal abuse, Taiwan has become the first Asian nation to ban the selling and consumption of dog and cat meat.
The Taiwanese government passed a landmark amendment to its existing animal rights laws and stated that those found guilty of the aforementioned crimes will be named and shamed — violators may have their names and photos publicized — and will face fines of up to 250,000 Taiwan new dollars ($8,188 USD).
Consumption of cat and dog meat has never been as widespread in Taiwan as it has been in other countries like Korea, but this latest initiative fits a pattern for President Tsai Ing-wen, who identifies as an animal-lover and has also passed other laws to keep citizens from harming their beloved furry friends.
“Taiwan's progressive ban is part of a growing trend across Asia to end the brutal dog meat trade, and reflects the fact that a huge number of people in Asian countries do not in fact eat dog and cat and are appalled by the cruel and often crime-fueled trade,” Wendy Higgins of Humane Society International told The Independent. “Taiwan also sends a strong signal to countries such as China and South Korea where the dog meat trade remains and millions of dogs are killed by beating, hanging, or electrocution for eating.”