Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Yeh Yu-lan (葉毓蘭) on Wednesday urged the Council of Agriculture (COA) to push forward with a proposal to establish an “animal protection police.”
The proposal was first raised in December last year and supported by 13 legislators across party lines, but has since stalled after discussions with the National Police Agency (NPA) and animal rights groups concluded that the proposal would be impractical given a lack of human and financial resources.
Taiwan Animal Protection Monitor Network secretary-general Ho Tsung-hsun (何宗勳) has continued to push the idea, saying the nation urgently needs a dedicated animal protection police force for five reasons: current animal protection officials do not have the authority to obtain search warrants and lack knowledge about animal protection; they do not do shift work, so they cannot promptly deal with cases that occur at night; they do not have judicial authority and cannot arrest people suspected of animal abuse; police officers are already overworked; and even when animal abuse cases are handled by the police, they are ultimately sent to animal protection authorities for follow-up.
Photo: George Tsorng, Taipei Times
Yeh asked COA Minister Chen Chi-chung (陳吉仲) at a meeting of the legislature’s Economics Committee which agency — the council or the police — is in charge of animal abuse cases.
Chen said they were the responsibility of animal protection officials, but that police would be called in if it is deemed a criminal offense.
Yeh said the process is inefficient, as it involves multiple government agencies.
“Although these animal protection officials are public servants, their lack of power to enforce the law means that people might question their authority,” she said, adding that animal rights groups support the establishment of an animal protection police force.
The council should be in charge of hiring and training police officers to gain knowledge and skills in animal protection, she said.
To solve the personnel problem, Yeh suggested that the council hire the nearly 5,000 examinees who had passed the Grade Three Special Examination for Police Personnel prior to 2011, but are ineligible for Grade Three or higher police positions because they are not graduates of the Central Police University — a policy that the constitutional Interpretation No. 760 issued on Jan. 26, 2018, has said is unconstitutional.
The council should push for a legislative amendment to allow it to proceed with the idea, she added.
Chen said the council would discuss the proposal.
“As someone who has taught at the police college, Yeh is very familiar with police training. She also knows that police are not knowledgeable in all areas,” Ho said.
Only officers specialized in animal protection can deal with such issues, he said.
The NPA could first train a small number of officers to handle animal abuse cases, and then establish an animal protection police force after they have gained experience, he said.
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