As part of an overhaul of its animal welfare legislation, Taiwan has become the first Asian country to pass legislation to ban the consumption of dog and cat meat. The amendment still needs to be signed by the country’s animal loving president but could be law by the end of April.

Under Taiwan’s new legislation, hefty fines of between NT$50,000 (£1,300) and NT$250,000 (£6,500) will be issued to those who don’t abide by the amended Animal Protection Act and repeat offenders could also be publicly named and shamed under the law and face up to five years in jail.

Those who are charged with animal cruelty or slaughter will face up to two years in prison and fines of up to NT$2m dollars (£52,000).

In addition to changes to the Act around the trade, legislation was also passed to make it illegal to walk a pet while riding a scooter or driving a car.

Taiwan’s president, Tsai Ing-wen, is an animal lover was regularly spotted with her two cats during her campaign drive.

She also adopted three retired guide dogs last year so it is perhaps no surprise that she has taken such a tough, and much deserved, stance on animal welfare as Asia continues to come under fire from animal lovers around the world for cultural ties to the dog and cat meat trade.

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Demonstrating that the President’s views on animals are echoed largely across the country, one of the commenters on her Facebook photo said, “The President has a heart of love, retired guided dogs to protect the blind, and they should treat them well and make them happy and enjoy their twilight years. How a country treats animals will be treated with the people. It is a civilized country for the kind of animal-friendly.”

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