Taiwan bans sale, consumption of dog and cat meat

BEIJING: Taiwan has banned the sale and consumption of dog and cat meat and increased the penalty for animal cruelty.

The legislature amended Taiwan's animal protection law to double the maximum penalty for deliberate harm to animals to two years in prison and a fine of 2 million Taiwan dollars ($65,000).

People who sell or eat dog or cat meat face a fine of up to 250,000 Taiwan dollars ($8,000) and their identity may be publicized. Drivers and motorcyclists who pull animals along on a leash also face fines according to the amendments passed Tuesday.

While consumption of dogs and cats was never widespread, the amendments point to increasing awareness of animal welfare on the island, where many residents lavish money and attention on their pets amid a plunging birthrate.