Animal rights advocates yesterday staged a rally outside the Legislative Yuan in Taipei, while lawmakers convened a second round of public hearings inside for the Constitutional Amendment Committee, where participants voiced their support for improving animal protection and lowering the legal voting age to 18.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators continued to boycott the hearings, accusing the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) of contravening legislative procedure earlier this month by choosing DPP Legislator Chou Chun-mi (周春米) as convener of the opening session before KMT legislators had arrived.
Representatives from the Taiwan Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and Taiwan Animal Equality Association led the rally outside, with several protesters dressed as roosters, pigs, tigers, monkeys, dogs, horses, pandas or other animals, while supporters held up banners that read “Incorporate animal rights into the Constitution,” among other slogans.
It is time for Taiwan to respect the life and dignity of these sentient life forms, and to protect the welfare of animals, animal rights advocate Ho Tsung-hsun (何宗勳) said.
“When people make use of animals, we must do everything to avoid causing them pain and unnecessary suffering,” Ho said.
Under the Civil Code, animals are considered items or property belonging to the human owner, and not defined as “life forms,” he said.
Photo: Fang Pin-chao, Taipei Times
“We need to have the basis for the protection of animals and put that in the Constitution,” he said.
Environment and Animal Society of Taiwan director Chu Tseng-hung (朱增宏) called on the government to initiate more reforms, otherwise efforts to ban the use of live animals in lab tests, stop cruel treatment of animals and promote more animal-friendly livestock farming in Taiwan would be impeded.
Representatives from the Taiwan Youth Association for Democracy and other student groups said they are concerned about KMT lawmakers boycotting the amendment process.
DPP Legislator Chen Ting-fei (陳亭妃) said that the party, along with the New Power Party and the Taiwan People’s Party, are participating in the legislative process, but with the noticeable absence of one party.
“KMT lawmakers have also introduced and supported lowering the voting age to 18, but now they do not want to touch it, and are using procedural moves to derail the process," she said. "It is very frustrating for us, as society wants to see the changes, but the KMT is working to ensure that nothing can be achieved."
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