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Taiwan bans Slaughter of Dogs and Cats for Human Consumption

Taiwan's Parliament amended its Animal Protection Act on Tuesday to ban the sale, purchase or eating of cat and dog meat

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Dead dogs. (Representational image). Wikimedia

Taipei, April 13, 2017: Taiwan has banned the slaughter of dogs and cats for human consumption and increased the penalty for cruelty to animals, according to island’s official Central News Agency (CNA).

Taiwan’s Parliament amended its Animal Protection Act on Tuesday to ban the sale, purchase or eating of cat and dog meat.

Offenders can now be fined between $1,640 and $8,200.

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Violators may also see their names, photos and crimes publicised, the news agency reported.

The amendment also doubled the maximum prison term for animal cruelty to two years and raised the fine up to $65,500 for any act that deliberately harms animals and results in mangled limbs, organ failure or death.

Under the amended Animal Protection Act, the same penalty will apply in cases where dogs, cats or other protected animals are killed.

The new law also bans drivers and motorcycle riders from pulling animals along on a leash, and stipulates a fine of upto $500 for offenders. (IANS)

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First Same-Sex Couple Ties Knot in Taiwan

Taiwan’s parliament passed a bill last week that endorsed same-sex marriage

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Gay and lesbian newlyweds kiss at a same-sex marriage party after registering their marriages in Taipei, Taiwan, May 24, 2019. VOA

Same-sex couples tied the knot in emotional scenes in Taiwan on Friday, the first legal marriages in Asia hailed by activists as a social revolution for the region. Taiwan’s parliament passed a bill last week that endorsed same-sex marriage.

More than 160 same-sex couples married Friday, according to government data, after years of heated debate over marriage equality that has divided the self-ruled and democratic island.

Twenty couples queued to tie the knot at a marriage registration office in downtown Taipei, where rainbow flags were on display alongside stacks of government-issued, rainbow-themed registration forms.

“I feel very lucky that I can say this out loud to everyone: I am gay and I am getting married,” said Shane Lin, a 31-year-old baker who with his partner were the first couple to register in the Taipei office. “I am extremely proud of my country Taiwan,” said a tearful Lin.

The euphoria and emotion among the island’s gay community was on display as newly-wed couples walked down a rainbow-colored carpet in a nearby park, watched by families and friends as well as diplomats and reporters.

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Gay newlyweds walk on a giant rainbow flag at a same-sex marriage party after registering their marriage in Taipei, Taiwan, May 24, 2019. VOA

‘The right we deserved’

Chi Chia-wei, an activist who brought a case to Taiwan’s constitutional court that led to a landmark court ruling on same-sex marriage in 2017, congratulated the couples.

“This is the right that we deserved from a long time ago,” he said, draped in a giant rainbow flag that symbolizes the colors of the international gay movement.

“As a beacon in Asia, I hope Taiwan’s democracy and human rights could have a ripple effect on other countries in Asia,” he added.

Supporters also celebrated on social media, sharing posts with the rainbow colors of the gay rights movement.

Friday’s celebration followed a years-long tussle over marriage equality that culminated in the 2017 declaration by the constitutional court giving same-sex couples the right to marry, and setting a deadline of May 24 for legislation.

Marriage equality was backed by the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), but the measure could complicate President Tsai Ing-wen’s bid for a second term in elections next year.

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Gay couple Cynical Chick, left, and Li Ying-Chien display the wedding certificate at the Household Registration Office in Shinyi district in Taipei, May 24, 2019. VOA

Conservative groups that oppose same-sex marriage said the legislation disrespected the people’s will.

Same-sex marriage is not recognized by Hong Kong and neighboring China, which regards Taiwan as a wayward province to be returned to the fold by force, if necessary.

It marks another milestone in Taiwan’s development as one of the region’s more liberal societies, in contrast with China’s strongly autocratic government.

ALSO READ: Taiwan’s Parliament Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage, Mass Weddings Planned

Across the strait, many Chinese congratulated Taiwan’s newlywed same-sex couples on platforms such as Weibo, China’s version of Twitter.

“For once I thought the legalization of same-sex marriage in Taiwan would impact on the Chinese government, making them heed our appeals,” one Weibo user said. “But then I found the shock actually makes the government more scared, stepping up their crackdown on us.” (VOA)