Activist calls for Taipei to impose ban on animal traps

POTENTIAL DANGER: Faye Angevine asked whether it would take a child to step in an animal trap for the problem to be taken seriously

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

Fri, Apr 02, 2010 - Page 2

An animal activist yesterday said that animal traps were still common in mountainous areas of Taipei City, posing a danger not only to animals, but also to humans, and urged the Taipei City Government to classify animal traps as dangerous weapons and ban their use in the city limits.

Faye Angevine condemned the city government for giving the appearance of promoting animal protection while ignoring the long-existing threat of animal traps.

Two of the more than 10 stray dogs she has adopted have lost one of their legs after they were caught in foothold traps, Angevine said.

She said that 70 percent of dogs caught in such traps lose a leg.

SERIOUS ISSUE

“What does it take for the government to take the issue seriously? When a child steps on a leg trap and gets hurt?” she asked yesterday at a press conference at Taipei City Hall.

Statistics from Animals Taiwan, a non-profit organization dedicated to animal rescue, show there were 141 reported animal injuries caused by foothold traps in Taipei between 2008 and last year.

The organization also found more than 50 animal traps in mountainous areas of Taipei City last year.

Information provided by the Taipei City Animal Protection Office, however, documents only 13 cases of animal injury since last year and no foothold trap finds.

MECHANISM

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei City Councilor Wu Su-yao (吳思瑤), who accompanied Angevine at the press conference, urged the city’s Animal Protection Office to establish a mechanism to cooperate with the police department and fire department to better handle animal rescues, while speeding up the establishment of regulations to ban the sale of animal traps.

“Animal traps are banned in many countries, and although Taipei City has used an administrative order to ban the sale of traps, leg traps can still be found at hardware stores,” she said.

BANNED

The Wildlife Conservation Act (野生動物保育法) bans the use of traps for catching wild animals. Violators are subject to a fine of up to NT$300,000. However, the selling the traps is not prohibited.

Office director Yen I-feng (嚴一峰) said it would dispatch more patrols to mountainous areas to search for animal traps, while strengthening cooperation with the police department and fire department in animal rescue work.