An online petition proposing relaxed regulations to allow guinea pigs on public transportation has collected nearly 1,000 signatures since its launch on Thursday.
The petition was spearheaded by a netizen identified as “Lu hua” (魯花), a guinea pig owner, who said that the regulations only allow dogs, cats, turtles, rabbits, fish and shrimp on trains and the high-speed rail.
Although guinea pigs are biologically classified as rodents, their disposition is closer to rabbits, and they do not pose a threat of spreading communicable diseases such as the plague, Lu hua said in the petition on the join.gov.tw Web site.
Screen grab from the join.gov.tw
If rabbits can be taken on board trains, guinea pigs should be allowed as well, as they barely make any noise, have a docile and friendly nature and are less likely to disturb other passengers than dogs and cats, she said.
There are almost no pet hotels for guinea pigs, forcing many owners to smuggle their pets onto public transportation when taking a longer trip, which sometimes results in guinea pigs being hurt or dying, she said.
This breaches animal rights protection, as well as creating trouble for public transportation systems, she added.
The petition has struck a chord with other guinea pig owners, one of whom said on Facebook that she could only travel by bus with guinea pigs, while others said they have lied to train staff to get onboard, saying they have a short-eared rabbit.
The Taiwan Railways Administration said that by law rodents are considered animals with communicable diseases and are prohibited from riding with human passengers, although they can be placed in the luggage car.
Under National Development Council rules, the relevant authorities must respond to petitions on join.gov.tw that collect 5,000 signatures within 60 days.
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