Sat, Jan 01, 2011 - Page 2 News List

COA urged to probe illegal pet trading sites

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff Reporter

Animal rights advocates yesterday asked the Council of Agriculture (COA) to form a special task force to investigate the illegal trading of pets online and unlawful breeding grounds.

At a press conference at the Legislative Yuan yesterday, activists brought along an old English sheepdog named “Bao Er” (寶兒), who they said was tortured at an illegal breeding ground.

Not only were her vocal cords removed, but her nipples were also swollen because of excessive breeding.

They also showed screenshots of messages from online pet trade Web sites and photos of -illegal breeding grounds.

Huang Tai-shan (黃泰山), co-founder of the Animal Protection Policy Watch Alliance, said that statistics from the Taipei City -Government showed that there were 2,850 pet shops in Taipei City in 2009.

Only 52 of them were registered with the city government.

Huang said animal abuse has been repeatedly reported at illegal breeding grounds.

He added that the administrative authority seemed unwilling to launch investigations even after they have received complaints.

He urged the COA to establish a task force to look into incidents of animal abuse and to set heavier penalties for people who torture animals.

Lin Tsung-yi (林宗毅), head of the COA’s Animal Protection Section said in response that animal protection inspectors are educated professionals in veterinary medicine, but they lack the skills needed to inspect illegal breeding centers.

Last year, Lin said, they invited prosecutors and senior police officers to train the inspectors on how to investigate suspected cases of animal abuse.

As some online pet traders leave their telephone numbers or provide links to their Web sites, Lin said the council would seek assistance from telecom carriers to find out their personal information.

This information would be forwarded to animal protection inspectors nationwide.

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