Pet lovers protest
plan to build more animal shelters
By Lee I-chia / Staff reporter
Pet lovers gathered on Ketagalan Boulevard in Taipei yesterday in a protest
against the government, saying it was spending large sums on building more
animal shelters while it should rather neuter stray animals.
In the cold and damp weather of Taipei yesterday, more than a dozen protesters
knelt on the ground and held up pictures of stray animals in poor condition or
dead at animal shelters.
They said President Ma Ying-jeou (°¨^¤E) had ask the Council of Agriculture to
improve animal welfare two years ago and groups had suggested to use the budget
on neutering, but now the council is planning to spend NT$1.7 billion on
building 27 animal shelters.
It is intolerable that while the law protects animals from being mistreated by
individuals, the government is slaughtering large numbers of stray animals by
putting them to death at animal shelters after 12 days if not adopted, they
The protesters also urged the government to enforce the TNR policy by ¡§trapping,
neutering and releasing¡¨ stray animals.
In response, Chu Ching-cheng (¦¶¼y¸Û), deputy director of the council¡¦s Animal
Husbandry Department, said the protesters might have misunderstood the plan,
which he said is aimed at improving the environment in the animal shelters.
¡§Most of Taipei¡¦s animal shelters were built between 1999 and 2002. Many of them
are run down or are not well designed, allowing infectious diseases to spread
easily through the facilities,¡¨ he said, adding that the plan aims to improve
the shelters and build new ones in counties that still lack a public shelter,
such as Yunlin County and Miaoli County.
Chu said the animal welfare groups had in the past also suggested the government
¡§improve the quality and safety of the shelters.¡¨
¡§The plan will not increase the stray animal catch, but rather improve the
chances of them getting adopted, because the public will be more willing to
visit the shelters if the environment is comfortable and locations more
convenient,¡¨ he added.