Tue, May 16, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Animal rights group urges amendment to prohibit steel snares

By Lin Chia-nan  /  Staff reporter

Steel snares are displayed in a basket at a news conference at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Chien Jung-fong, Taipei Times

An animal advocacy group yesterday called for a ban on steel snares, which they said hurt stray dogs, while an expert said that a ban could result in farmers using more inhumane alternatives such as poison.

Taiwan Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals executive director Connie Chiang (姜怡如) said the group has found that monkeys and stray dogs were caught in steel snares, resulting in broken limbs or starvation.

Chiang cited a report by the Yilan County Animal and Plant Disease Control Center for the society’s findings.

Control center section chief Liu Pi-yang (劉必揚) said an inspection in 2015 found about 80 steel snares in the Paolun community (匏崙) in Jiaoxi Township (礁溪), adding that five stray dogs have been injured by snares since then.

“It is difficult to identify who is setting up the snares,” he said.

The society’s legal specialist, Chou Jing-fan (周敬凡), called for an official ban on the steel snares.

Article 19 of the Wildlife Conservation Act (野生動物保育法) prohibits “the use of traps, snares or other hunting equipment” to capture animals, Chou said, adding that the act should be amended to explicitly ban steel snares.

“Any cruel device [for capturing animals] should be banned,” he added.

Protecting animals is everyone’s obligation, Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Chen Man-li (陳曼麗) said, adding that she supports the proposed ban.

“This has nothing to do with the conflict between Aborigines and Han people,” she added.

However, Savungaz Valincinan, a member of the Indigenous Youth Front, said advocates of the ban were criminalizing Aborigines.

She said that animal rights advocates should not frame the issue around “prohibition” and Aborigines’ accountability.

Many farmers, not only Aborigines, use snares to capture intruding animals, said Kurtis Jai-Chyi Pei (裴家騏), professor at National Dong Hwa University’s College of Environmental Studies.

Banning steel snares might be counterproductive because farmers would find alternatives like using poisons, he said, adding that stray animals and leopard cats are often injured by such methods.

People who want to capture animals should use more humanitarian means that are precise and cause no suffering to animals, he said.

“Traps are already banned, but many people are still using them,” he said. “The key lies with improving enforcement.”

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