Thu, Mar 09, 2017 - Page 3 News List

DPP lawmaker apologizes for contrempts with COA

By Alison Hsiao  /  Staff reporter

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Lin Tai-hua (林岱樺) yesterday apologized for quarreling with Council of Agriculture (COA) officials last week about religious groups’ “life-releasing” activities.

During a meeting on Friday last week to discuss possible amendments to the Animal Protection Act (動物保護法) and the Wildlife Conservation Act (野生動物保育法), Lin told council officials at the session that the government should provide shelter for animals released in such events, which is part of an amendment that she has proposed.

A remark by a council official, who said that if an individual decides they no longer want a pet and “releases” it, then that action would constitute abandonment, which carries penalties, appeared to rile Lin.

“I’m not talking about abandoning pets. That is exactly the loophole in our system, that we do not have regulations [to oversee ‘life-releasing activities’ in a positive way],” she said, citing examples of captive creatures such as live fish on display in a restaurant, animals being given as gifts or pets being surrendered to animal shelters.

When the official replied that her remark should be open to public judgement, Lin said: “Are you trying to pick a fight with me?”

DPP Legislator Tuan Yi-kang (段宜康), executive chief of the party’s Policy Committee, on Tuesday said that he would absolutely not accept Lin’s proposed amendment that “life-releases” not be considered abandonment and would ask the DPP caucus not endorse it.

Lin yesterday apologized for the “controversy and misunderstanding” she has caused.

In a statement, she said that she is against random or commercial “life-releasing” activities, but in Buddhist, Taoist and Confucian traditions, “life-releasing” is considered a compassionate and virtuous deed.

“While the government could mete out simple penalties for such activities, it could also have some supporting measures to allow room for such a religious act,” she said.

Lin said that she would continue to communicate with council officials and respect whatever decision the DPP caucus makes.

Additional reporting by CNA

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