Animal welfare activists yesterday gathered in front of the legislature in Taipei, calling for legislation demanding more humane treatment of stray animals to be included in an amendment to the Animal Protection Act (動物保護法).
Despite the rain, more than a dozen activists held up signs with pictures of mistreated cats and dogs, along with messages condemning cruelty to animals, the abandonment of pets by their owners and the policy of putting stray animals to death after being caught.
The demonstration was held while the act was being reviewed at the legislature’s Economics Committee.
The demonstrators said the policy of putting animals to death 12 days after they were sent to animal shelters is cruel and has proved to be ineffective, since there are still many stray animals being caught each year.
They urged legislators to amend the law so that stray animals can be protected, and to introduce the Trap-Neuter-Release project as a method to replace the mass killings of animals at shelters and as a solution to the stray-animal problem.
Huang Tai-shan (黃泰山), chairman and founder of the Taiwan People’s Association for Cats and Dogs, said the government should impose heavier punishments on owners who abandon their pets, or else the number of stray animals will only continue to increase.
Huang had his head shaved during the demonstration as a symbolic declaration of activists’ determination to protect stray animals from being mistreated or killed.
“It’s not the animals’ fault that they end up as strays on the streets and killing them is not the only solution,” so amending the act is essential to preventing many innocent animals from being killed each year, model and actress Sonia Sui (隋棠) said at the demonstration.
She also urged people to care about stray animals and adopt them as pets instead of purchasing animals from pet shops.
The committee passed the amendment yesterday, with the issue of the treatment of strays unresolved. The matter is to be discussed in talks between party caucuses.