Activists urge TNR program for strays
CNATAIPEI, Taiwan -- Scores of activists from around Taiwan protested in front of the Cabinet-level Council of Agriculture yesterday, urging the government to legislate a comprehensive trap, neuter, release (TNR) program to curb the number of stray animals.
January 5, 2013, 12:06 am TWN
“We'd like the government to face rather than ignore the issue and take proper measures,” said Brian Huang, founder of the Taipei-based Taiwan People's Association for Cats and Dogs, one of the protest organizers.
Huang said the legislation, as well as stiffer penalties for animal abuse, are necessary to better safeguard animal welfare.
Holding placards and banners, the protesters shouted: “Dogs and cats are not trash” and “Legislate TNR.”
The council currently prefers to round up and kill stray animals, which is more expensive and less humanitarian than TNR, according to the activists.
Huang Shen-chin, who carried a stray chihuahua she adopted last July to the protest, told CNA that it is cruel and violent to kill the animals.
“They're like furry kids. How could you be hardhearted enough to kill them?” asked Huang, who said she has spent some NT$4 million (US$137,720) over the past 32 years helping strays by feeding or neutering them.
In response, Sheu Kuei-son, director of the council's Department of Animal Industry, said at a press briefing that he respects their voices and welcomes public opinions on the issue.
“There is room for improvement” in Taiwan's current laws and regulations, Sheu said, but contended that TNR is not always the answer, citing a report by the World Organization for Animal Health of a failure of the program in Italy.
“We need rational discussion,” he said.
The activists vowed to stage another protest outside the Legislative Yuan Jan. 9, when amendments to the Animal Protection Act are scheduled for review.
Heavier Punishment for Crimes Related to Illegal Animal Drugs
People convicted of manufacturing or selling counterfeit or banned veterinary drugs are now subject to a maximum life sentence after the Legislature approved amendments to the act governing veterinary drugs yesterday.
To prevent veterinary drugs without permits from being sold or circulated, an amendment to the Veterinary Drugs Control Act stipulates that manufacturers or importers of fake or banned drugs are subject to life sentences or prison terms of at least seven years if human deaths are caused as a result of the drugs, with a minimum of three years if such drugs cause severe injury, according to the Legislative Yuan.
In addition, various other crimes involving illegal veterinary drugs, including shipping, commissioning, storing or displaying, will carry penalties of between six months and five years in jail, as well as fines of up to NT$5 million (US$172,180).
Prior to the amendments, the penalties for such crimes were imprisonment for less than three years and maximum fines of NT$4.5 million.