Animal rights groups are calling for a ban on traditional hunting contests by Aboriginal tribes, saying such competitions are a form of animal abuse.
Aborigine traditions of hunting animals to show respect to their ancestors and Mother Earth often involve cruelty such as the torture of the animals, the Environment and Animal Society of Taiwan and some Aboriginal activists said.
Furthermore, catching animals for fun and hunting pregnant creatures shows no respect for life and violates tribal traditions, society director Chen Yu-min (陳玉敏) said.
At a press conference held in Taipei on Thursday, the organization displayed video footage of a contest that showed about 200 people hunting squirrels and tearing the live creatures apart.
Such abuse hurts not only the reputation of Aboriginal culture, but also the nation’s international image and its tourism industry, the organization said.
It said that since 2009, at least 28 animal hunting contests have been held in 18 townships in nine counties across the nation — all in the name of passing on traditions and cultural heritage.
Although hunters from Aboriginal tribes are excluded from the country’s wild animal protection laws, participants in such competitions could face animal abuse charges, Wild at Heart Legal Defense Association general secretary Lynn Lin (林子凌) said.
Lin urged the Council of Indigenous Peoples, the Council of Agriculture and tourism-related agencies to help promote animal rights and push for the abolition of hunting contests nationwide.