Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Taipei City mayoral candidate Sean Lien’s (連勝文) comments yesterday that Taipei could alleviate the problem of stray dogs by having them sent to other cities, municipalities and counties via central government cooperation prompted criticism from netizens and animal enthusiasts.
Lien made the remarks during an interview on Pop Radio when talking about how to implement his zero euthanasia policy for stray dogs.
He said the most important part of the policy was to encourage the residents of the city to adopt animals from shelters instead of buying them from stores.
Lien said it is cruel to buy an animal and then decide to abandon it for whatever reason, adding that through the adoption of animals people are showing they truly understand how to respect life.
When asked about the lack of shelter space, Lien said that the city government could work with non-governmental organizations well as other cities, municipalities and counties.
“Taipei has limited space, and so might New Taipei City, but there should be more space the further south one goes. Yunlin County, maybe, or even Chiayi County,” Lien said.
There are many other counties that could also help alleviate the problem by local government cooperation, he added.
The comments instantly met with criticism on the Internet, with one netizen named rock210548 posting on Professional Technology Temple — the nation’s largest academic online bulletin board — “It’s the same solution as dumping nuclear waste on Orchid Island [蘭嶼, also known as Lanyu].”
Other netizens said Lien’s response might represent what he thinks is the solution to homelessness, while others said his highly prejudiced statements seemed to treat Yunlin County as “Lien’s personal landfill.”
Animal Rescue Team Taiwan spokesman Anthony Ni (倪京台) said Lien did not understand the problem.
“Shelter space in southern Taiwan is also lacking and Yunlin County itself has no shelter at all and keeps all its strays at veterinary clinics,” Ni said. “The entire thought process of dumping Taipei’s problems on southern Taiwan shows that Lien is still seeing problems through the eyes of the affluent and the powerful.”
In response to the criticism, Lien’s campaign office spokesman Liu Kuan-yin (劉冠吟) said Lien’s references to Yunlin and Chiayi counties were based on the thought that there would be more empty land in those counties.
Liu said that most stray shelters in the US are located in rural areas that are at least two hours’ drive from downtown, adding that the primary concern for shelters is that they have enough space.
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