The Council of Agriculture said a demand to release stray animals after they have been neutered needs further consideration.
The remark was in response to the establishment on Friday of an alliance advocating amending the Animal Protection Act (動物保育法) to include a trap-neuter-release (TNR) program to replace the current practice of euthanasia.
A total of 67 animal welfare groups in the alliance are demanding that the Animal Protection Act’s Article 21 — which stipulates that strays unclaimed within 12 days, or without identification, can be put to death — should be amended.
The alliance said: “The TNR program is key to reducing stray animals over the long term, but the proposal for amending the act has stalled at the legislature because the government is against it.”
The council’s Animal Husbandry Department said the proposals have been through two reviews and one consultation in the legislature’s economic committee, and while legislators have reached consensus on most articles, a greater range of opinions must be taken into consideration.
It said the council needs to consider aspects including the possible effects of applying the measure on public safety, quality of living and financial conditions, before putting it into practice.
TNR programs remain a controversial policy in several countries, it said, and has not yet been adopted by the state law of any nation, adding that it had been enforced by international animal protection organizations in smaller regions of a few countries.
The department said that behaviors such as polluting the environment, or chasing or attacking people, vehicles, livestock or wild animals, cannot be reduced by TNR programs.
It said it plans to continue its policy of promoting stray animal adoption, at the same time as trying to reduce the numbers of animals put to death.