World News

Taiwan law takes bite out of dog meat sales

TAIPEI (Reuters) - Taiwan legislators passed a law that calls for fines of up to $250,000 (3,825 pounds) on sellers of dog meat, a winter staple once popular in military units, as part of a broader animal rights push, newspapers reported on Saturday.

Under growing pressure from animal rights groups concerned about cruelty to pets and government inaction, parliament on Friday approved the fines as part of its Animal Protection Act, according to media and a supportive legislator.

“We think eating dog is a brutal act,” said legislator Chang Hsien-yao, policy director with People First Party. “Animal abuse cases have sparked concern from rights groups, and protection of animals hasn’t been done adequately.”

Dog, sometimes called “fragrant meat”, seldom appears on menus in Taiwan, but people in some areas of the island eat canines in the winter to improve body warmth and blood circulation.

Taiwan military units once raised dogs to eat, Chang said.

Names or photos of dog meat sellers will also be announced to the public, the Liberty Times newspaper reported.

Dog meat is popular winter eating in northeastern China near the North Korean border and in Guangdong province in the south.

Reporting by Ralph Jennings; Editing by Grant McCool