After the multi-parties groups concluded negotiation on the amendment draft of Animal Protection Act (APA) in Legislative Yuan on Dec. 24, 2014, the humane euthanasia of animals in shelters without being adopted after 12 days of public announcement would come to an end within two years. The Council of Agriculture (COA) indicated that in compliance with the negotiation results, the ultimate goal is to terminate the killings due to limited space in the animal shelter and continue to promote multiple approaches of adoption as well as work closer with animal protection associations. The objective is to increase adoption rate while reducing euthanasia rate. The Council aims to transform animal shelters into a half-way home for adoption instead of a place to end lives. After years of dedication to the cause, the COA is pleased to point out that there has been a significant reduction on the euthanasia rate which has dropped from 73% in 2009 to 27% in Nov., 2014.
Two projects were launched in 2014 to improve shelter management and quality
The Council, at the same time, stated that in the past some local governments did not pay much attention to animal protection; therefore leading to the lack of manpower and financial resource which affect the effectiveness of such works. In order to solve this problem, the COA had initiated a program in 2011 and proposed a mid-term plan to the Executive Yuan which deals with the issues of complementing manpower for law enforcement, implementing pet registration system, promoting pet neuter operation, improving animal shelter quality, and supporting civilian organizations to assist in animal protection works. Based on the “2014-2018 Public Construction Project - improvement of public animal control and shelter installations” ratified in 2013, and the “2015-2018 Social Development Project - enhancement of administrative efficiency on animal protection” ratified in 2014, the Council will offer full assistance to local governments on the implementation of necessary animal protection measures.
The Council further explained that initially it had planned to discuss the abolition of the regulation on humane euthanasia only after perceiving a noticeable improvement on Taiwan's animal welfare after the full implementation of the two abovementioned mid-term projects. However, since the multi-parties groups in Legislative Yuan had come to a conclusion, the COA will take active actions and draw up complementary measures with local governments as well as continue its cooperation with civilian groups for effective utilization of their resources. The Council is particularly pleading to local government officials to put emphasis on animal protection works and respond accordingly to this amendment's results.
Significant amendment on Animal Protection Act will enhance various related regulations
The COA also pointed out that there will be noticeable results for Taiwan's animal welfare standard after various other source management regulations have also been reviewed with the amendment, including pet food source management, establishment of animal protection agencies by regional governments and the outsourcing of regulation enforcement, permission to treat animal diseases with human-use drugs, enhancement of pet owner responsibility, mandatory permit for performing animals, dog management special ability service, reduction of adoption processing time for sheltered animals, pet contraception and mandatory declaration for animal breeding, police assistance in animal protection enforcement, 1 year maximum prison penalty for intentionally inflicting serious injury or causing death or slaughtering cats and dogs, and finally the establishment of a reward system for reports of offenses against animal protection law. The COA will draw up related laws for the enforcement measures as soon as possible in order to effectively assist local authorities in carrying out these duties.