Taiwan passed a landmark legislation banning the consumption of cat and dog meat—a huge step for animal welfare and a representation of the yama Ahimsa (non-violence). And, Taiwan is the first country in Asia to do so—a continent that has centuries-old cultural practices and traditions of consuming dogs and cats and an underground market riddled with cruel slaughtering practices of these animals.
How’d They Do It?
Taiwan banned the consumption of dog and cat meat with an amendment to the Animal Protection Act that passed last Tuesday, April 18th.
According to the National Geographic, individuals can be fined up to $8,200 for buying or eating the meat. And not only this, but, “Those who cause deliberate harm to a cat or dog can be fined up to $65,000, and serve two years of jail time—up from a maximum of one year previously.”
Furthermore, violators of this law will also face a wrath of shame by having their names and crimes publicized, according to Taiwan’s Central News Agency, writes CNN.
What’s Been Going On?
Prior to this amendment, Taiwan’s legislation only outlawed the slaughter and sale of dog and cat meat. This lack of comprehensive legislation allowed for the festering of an underground commercial market for dog and cat meat.
According to CNN, Jill Robinson, founder and CEO of the Animals Asia Foundation said, “Previously, the Animal Protection Act only covered the slaughter and sale of dog and cat meat, but this amendment specifically prohibiting the actual consumption of dog meat today is welcome.”
A Cultural Shift Towards Ahimsa
Taiwan’s action will hopefully encourage other Asian countries to also practice ahimsa towards dogs and cats, especially where killing these animals is still legal in China, South Korea, and the Philippines.
With the China’s Lychee and Dog Meat Festival (held every June in southern china, where 10,000 dogs are killed) and the Winter Olympics in South Korea coming up, animal welfare activists have a good grounding to continue the battle and put some pressure on these countries to make a change.
Image credit: Mandy Martini