Thu, Jun 07, 2007 - Page 2 News List

Animal abuse may be a crime

PROTECTION Legislators approved measures that would impose a jail term of up to one year on people convicted of animal abuse leading to death or injury

By Loa Iok-sin  /  STAFF REPORTER

A legislative committee yesterday took the first step toward tightening protection for animals by approving amendments making animal abuse a crime punishable by jail time.

The legislature's Economics and Energy Committee unanimously approved amendments to the Animal Protection Law (動物保護法) proposed by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Wang Sing-nan (王幸男) yesterday, DPP Legislator Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴) said.

The amendments stipulate that any person convicted of harassing, abusing, harming or abandoning an animal, leading to injuries or death, may be punished by up to a year in prison.

Under the current law, animal abuse is punishable by fines only.

"[The amendments] represent significant progress for animal protection in Taiwan," Hsiao said.

However, this is only the first step in creating an animal-friendly society, Hsiao said.

"For example, I'd also like to see legislation governing pet trading and breeding," Hsiao said.

She added that she was considering an amendment to the Trademark Act (商標法) that would require fur suppliers to label the product's origin.

"A lot of consumers think they're buying faux fur, but they're actually buying real animal fur," Hsiao said.

"I think consumers have the right to know the origin of the fur products they're buying," Hsiao said.

Meanwhile, the committee also approved a non-binding resolution asking the Council of Agriculture (COA) to draft procedures to ensure more humane animal- slaughtering procedures.

"Although humane animal-slaughtering practices are already required under the law, the COA has yet to set a standard procedure for slaughterhouses to follow," Hsiao said.

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