The Executive Yuan has approved a NT$1.2 billion (US$39.89 million) medium-term project to improve conditions at animal shelters, according to an official from the Council of Agriculture.
Lin Tsung-yi (林宗毅), head of the council’s animal protection section, said the government is working toward eliminating what the lawmakers called the “12 days clause” — a reference to the practice of putting down shelter animals after 12 days, an issue brought to public attention in the documentary Twelve Nights (十二夜) — but because more animals are being brought into shelters than adopted out, they have no choice but to continue the practice.
Lin said that after the length of time before animals are put to death was extended from the previous period of seven days, crowded conditions and a lack of medical resources for the animals have actually made the death rate at shelters increase.
The government’s priority will be promoting spaying and neutering animals, he said, adding that it is planning to vaccinate, neuter and plant information chips in dogs in remote and mountainous areas this year to help allay fears over rabies following the disease’s recent resurgence.
Lin also said that shelters outside of Taipei generally date back to, 1998, when the Animal Protection Act (動物保護法) was promulgated.
A lack of inspection and quarantine facilities for newly arriving animals means it is difficult to control the spread of infectious diseases, Lin said.
Of the NT$1.2 billion budget, NT$28.5 million is earmarked to improve conditions at those shelters this year, and local governments will have to reapply each year to have access to the funds, he said.