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Puppy ice cream? Hard to swallow for some

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Given Taiwan’s location, just off the coast of China, this new gelato treat being offered by a shop in Kaohsiung is raising some eyebrows.

The shop, known as Wilaiwan, is producing a peanut butter-flavored ice cream treat in the shape of a puppy — a shar-pei, it appears — and it is delighting some customers and disturbing others.

Taiwan is not known for its consumption of real dogs, and the legislature there declared the consumption of dog meat illegal in 2017, but it is still believed to be practiced by some, mainly immigrant workers from Vietnam.

But with dog meat being consumed in many parts of Asia, including China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Korea and Indonesia, according to Humane Society International, this, in the big picture, is a little bizarre.

The dessert item comes in peanut, chocolate or milk tea flavors. Each is made in an individual mold and they take five hours to create, with special attention to the eyes and the wrinkled features. The shop is making about 100 a day, selling smaller ones for $3.50, larger ones for $6.

Taiwan outlawed the consumption of dog and cat meat in April of 2017 when the island’s legislature passed a landmark amendment to its animal protection laws.

Before that, the Animal Protection Act only covered the slaughter and sale of dog and cat meat, but the new amendment specifically prohibited the actual consumption of dog meat.

Individuals who eat or trade dog or cat meat can now be fined between $1,640 and $8,200, and the maximum penalty for animal cruelty has doubled to to two years.

Yet, it has been reported that “dog and cat meat factories” have been set up in Taiwan to satisfy the appetites of the 200,000 Vietnamese migrant workers, some even offering delivery service.

Videos of the shop’s realistic looking dessert treat have gone semi-viral on the Internet, and with mixed reaction — some find them cute, others cringe-worthy.