Fri, Jun 23, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Cat identification chip trials to start in cities next year

FINDING FELINES A scheme similar to that currently in use for dogs will be tested in Taipei, Tainan, Taichung and Kaohsiung starting in April

By Lin Hsiu-tzu  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Council of Agriculture recently announced that a trial period will begin starting next April requiring cat owners to have their cats implanted with identification chips, just as dog owners are currently required to do.

Taipei, Taichung, Tainan, and Kaohsiung have been chosen by the council as the four cities to take part in the trial where cat owners will then be required to register their felines at designated registration places.

The council's decision to commence management of the nation's cat population in much the same way as dogs are controlled comes in the wake of pressure exerted on the government by animal rights advocates, including Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴).

The Taipei Pet Industry Union estimates that the new rules, which also require cats to have rabies vaccinations, will cost pet owners an extra NT$1,500 per year.

reimbursement

The Council of Agriculture responded by saying that it would consider reimbursing cat owners for the added costs if its budget allowed.

According to the council, the new rules will go into effect in metropolitan areas, with county and township-level cat owners included later.

Cat registration will include the date of birth as well as that of disappearance and death if applicable, and information regarding ownership.

The information will be contained in a chip implanted in the cat, as well as registration on a national database. If a cat becomes lost or goes missing, its information will be transferred to a lost pet registry to facilitate efforts to locate the animal.

The council also announced that it would be implementing a TNR (trap, neuter, and release) program in certain communities to control the cat population.

Stray cats would not be impounded because they do not typically pose a threat to the general public, nor are they generally a health hazard, the council said.

According to Yan I-feng (嚴一峰), director of the Taipei Municipal Institute for Animal Health, adoption rates for impounded cats are extremely low, which makes impounding them an ineffective option when it comes to managing their numbers and health.

Since registration and chip implant regulations were implemented for dogs in 1999, nearly 60,000 canines -- half the country's dog population -- have been registered.

Although the council acknowledged that it had encountered some difficulties in inducing rural pet owners to comply, canine registration efforts have been fairly successful overall.

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