Taipei, April 12: Eating dog or cat meat is a traditional custom in Chinese culture. Taiwan had banned eating cat and dog meat passed landmark animal protection laws imposing fines for the consumption of dog and cat meat as well as jail term for those who kill and torture animals. This is the first country in Asia to ban the consumption of cat and dog meat.The tradition of eating dog meat had begun over 400 years ago in China. Many believe that dog meat would help ward off the heat felt through the summer months. It wasn't until recent years that the festival in Yulin began. The festival is celebrated in the month of June where around 10,000 to 15,000 dogs are consumed during the 10 days festival. The festival is celebrated annually in Yulin, China.
The Animal Protection Act amendments approved says that the sale, purchase or consumption of dog or cat meat will be punished with fines. The amendment also states that punishment for those who intentionally harm animals to a maximum two years imprisonment with compulsory fines and if repeated then will be fined and jailed for one to five years.
Rising awareness of animal welfare in Taiwan has driven momentum for those seeking stronger animal protection laws with growing annoyance that most animal cruelty offenders are let off too easy without serving any jail term. Taiwan has doubled the maximum prison term for animal cruelty to two years and raised the fine then the previous one for any act that deliberately harms animals and results in mangled limbs, organ failure or death.
Dog meat is consumed in many parts of Asia including China, the Philippines, Korea and Indonesia, according to the Humane Society International. In recent years, high-profile cases of animal torture, including by members of the armed forces, have caused public outrage.