The suspected suicide of a veterinarian by animal euthanasia drugs has prompted authorities to reconsider an animal euthanasia policy, officials said yesterday, offering condolences and reaffirming a zero animal euthanasia policy that is expected to be implemented next year.
Chien Chih-cheng (簡稚澄), the director of an animal shelter in Taoyuan’s Sinwu District (新屋), allegedly committed suicide using animal euthanasia drugs on May 5.
The news of her death only became public on Friday last week, triggering a wave of condolence messages online, along with messages of concern for stray animals.
Chien allegedly left a note saying that while she was a passionate animal lover, she was extremely disturbed by having to euthanize animals and took her own life as a message that “all lives are equal” in the hope that the government would put more effort into managing stray animals.
Taoyuan City Councilor Wang Hao-yu (王浩宇) said Chien was under immense stress due to misinformed criticism directed at her and the shelter.
“Some animal welfare activists have unleashed relentless attacks on the Sinwu shelter and Chien was a target of those attacks. She was even described as a ‘butcher.’ For a young woman who chose to work at the shelter because of her love for animals and whose duties involved euthanizing stray animals every day, those abuses were like stabs to the heart,” Wang wrote on Facebook.
The “zero euthanasia” policy — which is planned for implementation next year — is likely to exhaust animal shelters with limited capacity and resources, as pet abandonment rates and stray animal reproduction rates have yet to be substantially reduced, veterinarian Kung Chien-chia (龔建嘉) said.
“Zero euthanasia is a false policy if there are no supportive measures to reduce pet abandonment rates to zero. Shelters have limited spaces, personnel and resources, but the number of admitted animals will keep increasing. The false policy — which the government created for better publicity regardless of an animal’s situation — will cause more pain to animals,” Kung said.
The Council of Agriculture yesterday expressed regret over Chien’s death, with council minister Tsao Chi-hung (曹啟鴻) offering condolences to the Chien family.
The council said it understood the plight of animal shelters and would seek improvements.
Following an amendment to the Animal Protection Act (動物保護法) in February, 33 public animal shelters will have to stop euthanizing animals in February next year, which could overload shelters. The government plans to invest NT$190 million (US$5.8 million) in increasing shelter capacity and improving animal protection by 2018, the council said.
The stray animal adoption rate has increased from 28.7 percent in 2012 to 70.4 percent, with 550,000 animals adopted last year, while shelter animal euthanasia rates were reduced from 50.1 percent in 2012 to 12 percent last year, the council said, adding that the government and the public need to work together to face the challenge of stray animal management.
Senior judges yesterday met to discuss the constitutionality of a law that makes adultery a criminal offense, before being ordered by Judicial Yuan President Hsu Tzong-li (許宗力) to set a date for a constitutional interpretation within the next month. The judges met to discuss Article 239 of the Criminal Code on offenses against marriage and family, after 18 judges had called for a constitutional interpretation of the issue. Taipei District Court Judge Lin Meng-huang (林孟皇) said that while he had previously tried adultery cases and never questioned the law, his feelings changed when trying a case last year involving baseball star Wang
Instead of hating the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), help change it, KMT Chairman Johnny Chiang (江啟臣) said, as he urged young people to join efforts to reform the party. As the nation marked Youth Day on Sunday, Chiang said in a Facebook post that he wanted to remind people that “the KMT used to be very young.” Now, when people think of the KMT, they equate it with older people, he wrote. “Even if [the KMT] is a 100-year-old party, it must maintain a young mentality, and understand what young people want and what they want the KMT to do,” Chiang wrote.
TOO TIRED: Investigators found that the pilot’s lack of alertness could be attributed to a lack of sleep the previous night, when he had slept with his child It was a copilot’s inappropriate operation of the aircraft and the pilot’s insufficient alertness that led to a hard landing of a China Airlines cargo flight on Dec. 13, 2018, the Taiwan Transportation Safety Board said yesterday. Flight CI6844, a Boeing 747-409 which departed from Hong Kong International Airport, landed on the pre-threshold area of runway L5 at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, about 21m before the head of the runway, an investigation report said. The hard landing damaged three runway lights, but none of the personnel on board sustained any injuries, the report said. When approaching the runway, the copilot failed to maintain
DISTRUST WARRANTED? The WHO is under China’s control and has become a useless organization, while data from China cannot be trusted, a Control Yuan member said China’s demand that the novel coronavirus that emerged in Wuhan, Hubei Province, not be referred to with names like the “Wuhan pneumonia” betrays its lack of confidence in itself, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) told lawmakers yesterday. Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Tsai Yi-yu (蔡易餘) asked Su, during a interpellation at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei, for his view on China’s attempts to redeem its national image in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. These included China’s efforts to “bleach” its image, including having WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus publicly praise its handling of the COVID-19 outbreak, and thanking it for buying time