Sat, Apr 01, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Groups argue over fix to stray animals in parks

By William Hetherington  /  Staff writer, with CNA

Disagreements were sparked earlier this week between conservationists and animal protection groups over Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Lin Tai-hua’s (林岱樺) proposed amendments to the Wildlife Conservation Act (野生動物保育法) to deal with the growing number of stray dogs in national parks.

Conservationists said strays should be removed from parks instead of being cared for by staff, saying that they pose a threat to indigenous animals, while animal protection groups criticized the solution as illogical and said it would not solve the issue.

Animal rights advocate Huang Tai-shan (黃泰山) said parks should set aside fenced-in land for the strays, calling on parks to neuter and feed the dogs as the only humane solution.

Strays damage the environment significantly less than humans who are also foreign to parks, he said.

“If we follow the conservationists’ logic that foreign animals should be removed from parks, then we should start with people,” Huang said.

It would also be impossible to remove strays, since there would be no place to take them, he said, adding that starving dogs would trigger their instinct to hunt, thereby making them a threat to wildlife.

“We [animal rights advocates] want strays to show up in national parks even less than conservationists do,” Huang said, adding that providing dogs with an adequately large space of their own would keep wildlife safe and prevent the dogs from attacking each other.

Huang said only minimal fixtures would need to be installed so they could have shelter from strong wind and rain.

“If the dogs are fed regularly, then they can continue to live as strays and would eventually die of natural causes,” he said.

Huang said the parks are definitely able to provide sufficient land for this purpose, adding that it is up to park authorities to decide whether they are willing to do so.

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