Taiwan has made history becoming the first Asian country to ban the sale and consumption of cat and dog meat.

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The country’s legislature passed a legal amendment to the Animal Protection Act state that offenders could be punished with a monetary fine of NTD 50,000 to $2 million (A$2178 to $87080).

The amendment's sponsor, Kuomintang Legislator Wang Yu-min, said that while some localities already had measures banning dog and cat meat consumption, national legislation was needed.

Taiwanese photographer Tou Chih-kang and his assistant steady a scared dog for a portrait in a makeshift studio during the final moments of its life before being put down by lethal injection at a shelter in Taoyuan. Photo: AP

Several other amendments were also passed, in a step towards making the country more animal friendly.

Stiffer punishments will be enforced for those who intentionally harm animals which include a maximum of two years’ imprisonment and fines of between NT$200,000 and NT$2 million.

Pet owners will now be penalised if they are seen with their leashed dogs running alongside their scooters.

A dog stands on a scooter with his owners as they wait at an intersection in Taipei, Taiwan. Photo: AP

It is now illegal to ‘walk’ animals via motor vehicles with offenders facing possible fines up to NT$15,000.

Before taking effect, the amendments still need to be signed into law by the Cabinet and Presidential Office, which could take place before the end of the month.

Tourists stop to view one of the hundred or so resident cats resting on a wall in the small town of Houtong, Taiwan. Photo: AP

The amendments come in response to several high-profile incidents of animal cruelty.

Just last year, a video went viral of a group of Taiwanese marines viciously beating a dog before hanging it and throwing its lifeless body into the ocean, triggering an investigation and sparking public protests.

A video of this dog went viral last year. Photo: on.cc

Last October, Chan Ho-yeung – a student from Macau studying in Taiwan – was sentenced to 10 months in prison after being convicted of killing two stray cats.

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