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Tuesday, 2 January, 2001, 17:41 GMT
Taiwan bans dog meat
Menu with picture of dog
Dogs are increasingly coming off the menu in Asia
Taiwan's parliament has passed a law banning people from eating dog meat.

Under the new legislation, the meat and fur of pets such as dogs and cats are banned from being used for economic purposes.

Anyone found violating the law - which becomes effective once ratified by the president - is liable to pay a fine of $300.

"I have been a dog lover since my childhood," said lawmaker Wang Hsin-nan of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party, who was behind the bill.

Times are changing

South Korean dog right protester
South Korea, where dogs were once widely eaten, is now home to a dogs' rights movement
Mr Wang said eating dog meat was understandable during hard times, when the meat was viewed as a source of nutrition.

"But things have changed, given Taiwan's dynamic economic development for many year," Mr Wang told the French news agency AFP.

"I felt I must do something to protect pets here," said the former dissident who spent several years in the United States.

He said some dog meat restaurants had protested against the move.

Move against the meat

Once available in several Asian countries, dog meat is becoming increasingly difficult to find.

Korean poster
A Korean poster reads says "dogs are our friends" and "don't hurt dogs"
In Korea, where dog meat has long been popular, the sale and consumption of meat is illegal.

The ban was introduced in a bid to forestall bad international publicity ahead of the 1988 Seoul Olympics.

However, many restaurants still serve dog dishes illicitly.

The Korea Animal Protection Society says dog meat is not a traditional Korean food, but became part of the diet during difficult economic times.

South Korea is now home to a growing dogs' rights movement which campaigns against cruelty and attempts to re-legalise the trade.

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See also:

29 Sep 99 | Asia-Pacific
No dogs on Seoul menus
17 Aug 99 | Asia-Pacific
South Korea's dog day
11 Mar 99 | World
Dogs 'blow-torched' alive
05 Aug 98 | Asia-Pacific
Koreans arrested over dog soup
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