The Council of Agriculture (COA) on Saturday said that after the Lunar New Year holiday it would establish a department to manage pet-related issues.
The department would manage all aspects of pets’ lives “from birth to death” and would have an annual budget of NT$130 million (US$4.71 million), the COA said.
“There are about 7 million households in the country, of which 2 million are registered as having pets. That means about one in three households has pets,” COA Minister Chen Chi-chung (陳吉仲) said, adding that 2.3 million pet dogs and cats are registered nationwide.
Photo courtesy of the New Taipei City Government Animal Protection and Health Inspection Office
The value of the domestic pet industry is NT$50 billion annually, which justifies establishing a department specifically for pets, he said.
The average pet owner in Taiwan spends about NT$25,000 per year on their pet, 44 percent of which is for food, he said, adding that the rest mostly covers health-related expenses and grooming.
The new department would oversee aspects of the industry including pet food, grooming, training, pet-sitting and pet insurance, he said.
It would also oversee the management of animal performances, including the implementation of professional review procedures, irregular inspections and evaluations, and the training of specialized enforcement personnel, he said.
The department would develop a pet information system for the public and cultivate talent for the industry, as well as improve consumer education about pets, he said.
“Part of its task would be to work to prevent the introduction of invasive species into the environment,” and a list of approved pets would be made,” he said.
The department would maintain white, gray and black lists that would indicate which animals are safe to raise and which could potentially damage the ecosystem, COA Department of Animal Industry Deputy Director Chiang Wen-chuan (江文全) said, adding that it would work with the Forestry Bureau to create the lists.
“The black list would include animals that people are prohibited from raising, and the gray list would include animals subject to the council’s approval,” he said. “The department would look at the pet owner’s qualifications and the environment where they plan to raise the animal” when making a decision.
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