Thu, Jun 02, 2016 - Page 3 News List

Dog and cat meat diners should face fines: lawmaker

By Chen Yu-fu, Yu Chao-fu, Lee Li-fa and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporters, with staff writer

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chiu Chih-wei (邱志偉) has proposed a draft amendment to the Animal Protection Act (動物保護法) to provide a legal basis to fine people who buy, sell or eat any product that contains dog or cat meat.

Chiu’s proposed amendment, if passed, would see violators fined between NT$50,000 and NT$250,000 (US$1,532.71 and US$7,663.54).

Citing the Kaohsiung City Autonomous Animal Protection Act (高雄市動物保護自治條例), which was passed last year and prohibits anyone from buying, selling or eating any product that contains dog or cat meat, Chiu said the initiative should be adopted nationwide to provide better animal protection.

The amendment would also prohibit animal owners from leading their animals by car or scooter or face a fine of between NT$15,000 and NT$75,000, Chiu said, adding that the amendment would require individuals who abandon their pets or use them for gambling or competitions to attend a mandatory course on animal protection.

DPP Legislator-at-large Frida Tsai (蔡培慧) also proposed a ban on animals being used in public performances, saying that if any organization or person wants to use an animal to interact with an audience, they must first submit a permit application.

Any organization or person that wants to use animals in public performances must accept an assessment prior to their activities, with an assessor reserving the right to revoke the permit if the assessment fails.

If the amendment passes, violators would be fined between NT$100,000 and NT$3 million, Tsai said.

Many animals that are used in public performances are treated inhumanely, Tsai said, citing how dolphins, a key part of marine performances, are often kept in unsatisfactory environments.

Liao Chun-pin (廖俊斌), chief executive officer of Yehliu Ocean World in New Taipei City, said that while he had no opinion on the proposed amendments, the government should include academics and industry experts in their discussions instead of demonizing establishment owners.

Liao said that Yehliu Ocean World is not a circus, but rather an organization that raises and cares for dolphins and sea lions, adding that he would welcome anyone who wanted to visit Ocean World to see how the organization cares for its animals.

The amendments could put some establishments out of business, Liao said, adding that without any income, the establishments would be unable to afford staff or other expenses related to animal care.

Meanwhile, the National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium in Pingtung County said it does not use animals in “performances,” as it sees itself as a museum for conserving marine life.

However, it said that people can still observe the museum’s animals and listen to guides when the animals are fed.

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