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June 23, 2017

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Pastor who ate dog may have broken law: SPCA

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- In a press release from the Taiwan Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA, 台灣防止虐待動物協會), the organization stated that the recent incident where a pastor allegedly encouraging believers to consume dog meat is in violation of the Animal Protection Act (動物保護法).

Alleged to have been caught on camera saying "I finally had the chance to try the meat of my dreams, dog meat," pastor Meng Hsien-mei (孟憲梅) of the Bread of Life Christian Church in Tunghai (東海靈糧堂) has again caused controversy following a video of her thanking Jesus for restoring her virginity.

"It was so tasty, and hence its nickname 'savory meat' in Chinese," Meng supposedly said in the video. "Locals even called it heavenly meat, and it has been said to be a way to heaven after consumed." The pastor supposedly spent 1,000 Baht to eat dog meat during her trip to Thailand after being discouraged by local Buddhist monks.

The statement has been reported to have violated article 25 of the Animal Protection Act, which calls for fines of between NT$200,000 to NT$1 million for the butchering of cats and dogs.

Meng's statement has also been interpreted to be encouraging animal abuse. Under article 27-1, a maximum of one-year imprisonment can be issued for individuals who promote violence to animals through images or audio broadcasting.

The independent church group Bread of Life Christian Church has drawn media attention in the last few months as a result of their sermon videos. The church has recently courted controversies for its unothodox messsages, adopting preaching methods less seen and popular in Taiwan.

Though in place for the last 16 years, the animal protection act has failed to charge consumers of rare animal meats and can instead only punish the suppliers.

Legislator Cheng, Li-Chiun (鄭麗君) has stated that the animal protection act will soon be amended to list the consumption of dog meat as a criminal offense, in hopes of eradicating the behavior.

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