The Council of Agriculture (COA) has set up a new division responsible for regulating the pet industry, pet ownership and pet welfare, the council said yesterday.
Council Minister Chen Chi-chung (陳吉仲) told a news conference in Taipei that about 2.5 million dogs and cats are kept as pets in Taiwan, and that the annual output value of the pet industry had grown to more than NT$500 million (US$17.42 million).
“At the current 10 percent annual growth rate, that means there could be 12 million pet dogs and cats in the country by 2040,” Chen said, adding that pets deserve welfare protection “just as people do.”
Photo: Peter Lo, Taipei Times
The council said in a news release that the pet management division had been set up ahead of planned amendments to the Animal Protection Act (動物保護法), as it is seeking to bolster government oversight of the pet industry and pet welfare.
The council had drafted a “white list” of animal species and breeds that can be kept as pets, based on the standards of animal welfare, risks posed by potentially invasive species, and human and animal safety, it said.
The section would initially have six employees at the council headquarters and about 100 staffers in local government offices, the council said.
It would have an annual budget of NT$150 million, it added.
President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) told the event that the planned legal amendments would focus on “traceability,” mandating that pets be registered at birth and each time they change owners throughout their lives.
The establishment of the section follows criticism from animal protection groups — especially those dealing with abandoned pets and stray animals — that the council was not doing enough to crack down on irresponsible pet owners and breeders.
Chen last month said that the new section would initially focus on dogs and cats, but would later expand to include other animals commonly kept as pets, including birds and reptiles.
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