Wed, Sep 12, 2012 - Page 3 News List

Animal groups urge authorities to give a chance to strays

LEASH ON LIFE:According to animal rights groups, the government’s policy of ‘capturing and killing’ strays is not the right way of dealing with the animals

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Animal welfare activists, officials and celebrities attend the launch of the “2012 Taiwan Stray Animals Declaration” at the Taipei NGO Assembly Hall yesterday.

Photo: CNA

Celebrities and legislators gathered in Taipei yesterday to announce a “2012 Taiwan Stray Animals Declaration” and called for an amendment to the Animal Protection Act (動物保護法) to help reduce the massive number of stray animals that are put to death every year in Taiwan.

The event held by the Taiwan Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Taiwan SPCA) alongside the Taiwan People’s Association for Cats and Dogs (TPACD) was attended by several celebrities and legislators, including film director Hou Hsiao-hsien (侯孝賢), TV host and entertainer Pauline Lan (藍心湄), as well as Democratic Progressive Party legislators Lin Tai-hua (林岱樺) and Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍).

During the event, participants presented flowers to a small, handmade dog-shaped statue while expressing sorrow for all the animals that have been put to death over the past 13 years.

“A total of 1.15 million stray animals have been placed in public shelters over the past 13 years and 70 percent of them have been put to death — about 150,000 of them died for unidentified reasons,” Taiwan SPCA executive director Connie Chiang said, adding that the unhealthy conditions in the shelters as well as limited public visiting hours have led to low adoption rates.

In most cases this means that stray cats and dogs “have no chance of leaving the shelters alive,” Chiang added.

“The authorities claim that precautionary dog captures are necessary to prevent stray dogs from chasing cars or biting people, but among the total number of 411,867 dogs captured between 2007 and 2010, only 775 dogs were captured for biting people — a rate 0.18 percent,” TPACD founder Huang Tai-shan (黃泰山) said

The animal rights groups said the fact public shelters are always crowded indicated that the government’s policy of indiscriminately “capturing and killing” stray animals is obviously not the best solution to dealing with the issue of stray animals.

They urged the government to amend the act to restrict random capturing and sheltering of stray animals, to promote animal welfare education, to support trap, neuter and release programs and to also enforce heavier punishments for the abandonment, abuse and illegal breeding of pet animals.

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