The Legislative Yuan passed an amendment to the Animal Protection Act April 11 prohibiting the slaughter of cats and dogs for human consumption and strengthening penalties for animal cruelty.
The new regulations ban the sale and consumption of cat and dog meat as well as any food products containing meat or parts from these animals. Violation of the law is punishable by a fine of NT$50,000 (US$1,635) to NT$250,000, and the names and photographs of offenders may be published.
According to the updated penalties for animal cruelty, deliberate harm that results in shattered limbs, organ failure or death carries a sentence of up to two years in prison and a fine of between NT$200,000 and NT$2 million. Repeat offenders can be imprisoned for up to five years.
The amendment also prohibits motorcycle riders and drivers from pulling animals along with leashes. Violation of this provision is punishable by a fine of between NT$3,000 and NT$15,000.
Calls to strengthen animal cruelty laws have grown in recent years as pet ownership has increased in Taiwan. Statistics from the Cabinet-level Council of Agriculture show that the number of pet dogs and cats in the nation rose from around 1.6 million in 2003 to 2.2 million in 2015.
Promulgated in 1998, the Animal Protection Act originally penalized the deliberate harming of animals with a prison term of up to one year as well as a fine of NT$100,000 to NT$1 million. In 2015, southern Taiwan's Kaohsiung became the first city in the country to ban the consumption of dog and cat meat and any products containing it, stipulating that offenders receive fines of NT$15,000 to NT$75,000.
Source: Taiwan Today