Employers should be held accountable if the migrant workers they hire slaughter dogs or cats, an animal protection campaigner said yesterday, after three Taiwanese were found to have sold at least 20 dogs for meat and asked a Vietnamese employee to slaughter them.
Two sellers, both surnamed Chiu (邱), adopted 20 dogs from three public animal shelters in Miaoli and Hsinchu counties and Hsinchu City in March, while also setting traps to capture stray dogs in Miaoli, leading local animal protection advocates to suspect that they might want to kill the dogs and sell the meat.
After tracking their traffic and correspondence records for months, the Miaoli Police Bureau on Thursday confirmed that the two sold the dogs to another man, surnamed Chuang (莊), who lives in Taichung’s Dajia District (大甲).
Police quoted the Chius as saying that Chuang paid them NT$300 (US$9.81) per dog and had a Vietnamese worker slaughter the animals.
Police found remains, hairs and collars of the dogs in an empty building across from Chuang’s residence, they said.
The Chius, Chuang and the migrant worker have breached the Animal Protection Act (動物保護法) by slaughtering dogs and could face a prison term of up to two years or a fine between NT$200,000 and NT$2 million, police said, adding that they have forwarded the case to the Miaoli District Prosecutors’ Office.
The investigation was prompted by a group of animal protection advocates led by Chang Yu-jung (張育榕), a painter who specializes in dog portraits, who yesterday said that many “mysterious” food stores near Dajia’s industrial parks have been selling dog meat.
Some migrant workers, especially Vietnamese, might eat dog and cat meat, and some Taiwanese are selling the meat, Chang said, adding that the Miaoli incident is not an isolated case.
“Employers should be held responsible for supervising the migrant workers they hire,” Chang said, adding that she and other campaigners would on Friday next week petition the Ministry of Labor to amend the Employment Service Act (就業服務法).
An amendment proposed by Chang says that the ministry should stop managers from recruiting migrant workers who have slaughtered dogs and cats or are in possession of carcasses, but employers should not be punished if they report their workers for producing such meat.
Following the Miaoli case, the Council of Agriculture added an “early warning” function to the online system used by public animal shelters and shelter staff are to pay special attention to adoption applicants who have poor records or have already adopted many animals, Animal Protection Section head Jiang Wen-chuan (江文全) said yesterday.
Apart from 5,000 people already blacklisted for contravening Animal Protection Act, the council would also establish a “gray list” to identify applicants who are more likely to abuse animals, Jiang added.
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