Fri, Nov 23, 2007 - Page 2 News List

Cabinet proposes stiffer penalties for animal abusers

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Cabinet yesterday approved an amendment to the Animal Protection Law (動物保護法) that will allow animal-protection officials to publicize the names and pictures of people found abusing animals.

Under the amendment, animal abusers may be fined between NT$100,000 (US$3,100) and NT$500,000, and repeat offenders face a fine of NT$200,000 to NT$1 million.

The law bans the killing of cats, dogs or other animals included in a prohibitions list in order to acquire their meat, fur or for commercial purposes.

Government agencies in charge of animal protection are authorized to take animals suffering from abuse to animal shelters.

The amendment, subject to legislative approval, also prohibits use of explosives, poison gas, electric devices, anesthesia, firearms or tongs without permission when capturing animals.

The Cabinet also passed an amendment yesterday that would impose a fine on drug users.

"Young people are often seduced into taking drugs as drug providers tell them there is no legal consequence," said Chiang Hui-ming (江惠民), director of the Ministry of Justice's Department of Prosecutorial Affairs.

The Narcotics Endangerment Prevention Act (毒品危害防治條例) only imposes a penalty on dealers, not users, of drugs such as ecstasy (MDMA), LSD, FM2, GHS, Ketamine, magic mushrooms and Nimetazepam.

These new kinds of drugs, commonly known as "club drugs," have gained in popularity over amphetamine among young people, Chiang said.

"There are many worrying developments on drug misuse. Drugs are cheaper and more accessible, they are taken publicly, and the age of people taking drugs is decreasing," Chiang said.

Premier Chang Chun-hsiung (張俊雄) said at the meeting that he had asked the Ministry of Education and other government agencies to draft measures within a month that would help drug users kick the habit and return to school.

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