Activists call for animal protection amendment to spare lives of strays
The China PostBy Joy Lee--Activists demanded lawmakers include special regulations protecting stray animals in an amendment to the Animal Protection Act during a protest in front of the Legislative Yuan yesterday.
January 10, 2013, 12:04 am TWN
Huang Tai-shan (黃泰山), co-founder of the Animal Protection Policy Watch Alliance (APPWA), shaved his head during the demonstration in a show of his determination to help stray animals. Model and actress Sonia Sui (隋棠) also showed up to support the activists.
According to local reports, the Legislature's Economics Committee (經濟委員會) has taken an article-by-article approach to reviewing different versions of a planned Animal Protection Act amendment.
Activists said that including a trap-neuter-return (TNR) method in the amendment could help solve the problem of stray animals in a more humane and effective way.
“The Council of Agriculture (COA) keeps emphasizing pet owners' responsibilities on issues regarding stray animals,” Huang said. “However, according to statistics from the Control Yuan, there have only been 279 tickets issued to people for abandoning their pets ... over the past 10 years.
“The number of stray animals has increased because the COA did not do its job and punish irresponsible pet owners. It is not fair to kill those innocent animals that were abandoned for the mistakes their owners made.”
Chiang Yi-ju (姜怡如), chief executive officer of the Taiwan Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, said that 13 international animal protection groups have voiced support for amending Taiwan's Animal Protection Act. Lawmakers should not ignore the rights of animals, she said.
TNR — a method of humanely trapping feral cats, spaying or neutering them, and releasing them back at the same location they were collected — is being adopted across the globe to solve issues related to stray animals, Sui said.
“If this amendment does not pass this time, it might take another two to three years, which would cause more animals to lose their lives in shelters. Therefore, it is important to pass this amendment.”
According to local reports, the section of the amendment regarding the responsibility of pet owners has been approved, while discussion is ongoing about whether language should be included in the amendment to punish people who injure an animal.
The COA has said that, under current regulations, those who severely injure an animal can face fines between NT$100,000 and NT$500,000, and can be sentenced to up to one year in prison.