A big step toward improving the country’s animal protection laws, Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan approved an amendment to their Animal Protection Act which now bans the selling, purchasing, consumption and/or possession of dog or cat meat.

This marks the first law of its kind across all of Asia.

Taiwan once the one country’s in Asia who eats dog and cat’s meat. However, these animals are now more and more considered members of the family and not meals.

In addition to banning to consume any of these animals, the amended Animal Protection Act makes it illegal for persons in a motorized vehicle or bike to pull their pets alongside them as they travel.

Offenders face very large fines ($1600 to $8100 US) and up to two years in prison – and public humiliation – for their crimes. Their photos and names will be made public if they break the law.

Although animal welfare and advocacy is growing across Asia, Taiwan is the only country thus far to enact a ban against the slaughter of these animals for human consumption.

Dog and cat meat is not legally prohibited in mainland China, where the Yulin Dog Meat Festival is set to take place in June.

While Taiwan’s legislators have approved the ban, the amendments still need to be signed into law by the Cabinet and Presidential office.

But, because Taiwan’s President, Tsai Ing-wen, is a dog lover herself, the country’s first female leader adopted three retired guide dogs to live alongside her two cats, Cookie and A-Tsai last year, approval of the law is expected as early as the end of the month.