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Taiwan law takes bite out of dog meat sales

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Taiwan legislators passed a law that calls for fines of up to NT$250,000 (US$7,730) for sellers of dog meat, a winter staple once popular within 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, Taiwan’s parliament approved the fines as part of its Animal Protection Act on Friday, according to media and a supportive legislator.

“We think eating dogs 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 raise their body temperature and improve 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.

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