Animal rights group Life Conservationist Association (LCA) yesterday urged the Council of Agriculture (COA) to aim to ultimately reduce the percentage of animals put to death in public animal shelters to zero.
The group accused the council of being too conservative on its goals for improving public animal shelters between this year and 2018, which were approved last year.
LCA executive director Ho Tsung-hsun (何宗勳) said the council set the goal of reducing the proportion of animals put to death at shelters to 50 percent, but this goal was almost reached in 2012, when the figure was 50.07 percent.
Ho said the plan also set a goal of reducing the euthanasia rate by about 3 percent each year, aiming to reach an average of 37 percent by 2018. However, statistics for 2008 to 2012 showed the reduction rate was already about 5.11 percent each year, so the council’s new goals were unambitious, Ho said.
He also suggested that the government set the ultimate goal of achieving no euthanasia for cats and dogs at public animal shelters, and set more challenging goals each year — such as using the average rate of euthanasia at the local shelters with the lowest rates last year as its goal for the overall average rate this year.
LCA member and retired government official Wang Wei-chi (王唯治) said that as the Executive Yuan will ask all departments to set key performance indicators for themselves, the group urged the council to include animal protection performance among key indicators, rather than focusing only on agricultural production.
Ho said the group also urges the government to improve adoption mechanisms at public shelters, as well as supervising existing private shelters.
Taipei Veterinary Medical Association president Simon Yang (楊靜宇) said that sometimes stray dogs are put to death because the shelters are negligent in scanning for microchips, and suggested that puppies should be kept apart from other animals because the adoption rate for them is usually higher.