The times are changing! In a great victory for animals, Taiwan has banned the consumption of dog and cat meat. Where previously the Animal Protection Act, Taiwan’s animal rights legislation, only covered the slaughter and sale of dog and cat meat, this amendment specifically prohibits the consumption of dog and cat meat as well. Now individuals who eat or trade dog or cat meat can now be fined between $1,640 to $8,200.

Not only that, but the amendment to the Animal Protection Act also bans “walking” an animal on a leash pulled by a car or motorcycle and raises the penalty for cruelty to animals. The maximum prison term for animal cruelty has been doubled to two years and the fine is now up to $65,500 for “any act that deliberately harms animals and results in mangled limbs, organ failure or death.”

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen is a cat lover herself and even showcased her two felines “Think Think” and “Ah Tsai” on social media during her presidential campaign.

With an estimated 30 million dogs killed annually in Asia for the dog meat trade, Taiwan joins Hong Kong, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand in trying to put an end to the horrific trade.

Wendy Higgins of Humane Society International (HSI) applauded the ban saying, “Taiwan’s progressive ban is part of a growing trend across Asia to end the brutal dog meat trade.” Just earlier this year, HSI shut down a dog farm in South Korea and rescued 55 dogs from the farm, with all of the dogs getting a second chance in the United States.

Knowing the horror behind the dog meat trade, we are thrilled Taiwan is taking this step on behalf of animals. Dogs in the meat trade are forced to travel long distances, crammed into crowded wire cages, where they will languish without food or water as they await their fate. They will watch on as those before them have their throat’s slit. Many are reportedly beaten — even burned or boiled alive. A four-year investigation by Animals Asia found that the majority of animals killed for human consumption in China are stolen pets or stray animals.

While the news of Taiwan banning the consumption of dog and cat meat is great, the fight is not over. There are many options available if you want to help stop the cruel dog meat trade. Humane Society International has a wealth of information and resources to help raise awareness for the cruelty inherent in this practice, and they also run large campaigns encouraging country leaders to take action to ban the trade altogether. Many people are not aware of the dangers or even the existence of the dog meat trade, so your best course of action is to educate yourself and others to expose the truth of this industry!

Image source: Zoran Ilic/Shutterstock