20 February 2022 was a memorable day in the history of animal protection in Taiwan!
Despite the cold breeze and heavy rain, over 70 groups and organizations gathered on Kedar Grand Avenue and marched around Taipei Station, the executive branch, and the legislature to show that they sincerely hope that animal protection will be written into its constitution, just as environmental protection was written into the constitution of Taiwan in 1994. What was most encouraging was that many of the people were high school and university students, who understand better than the elderly that “animals are as sentient and intelligent as people” and are determined to show their support in their own way.
The eight animal protection groups, including the World Dog Alliance (WDA), have been promoting the idea of including animal protection into the constitution since early 2020, and have held several public hearings so far. However, the proposal was not discussed in January 2022, which triggered animal protection groups to walk onto the streets to gain more public attention and fight for the last chance to reverse the situation.
Although the preparation time for the march was short, the efforts of the founding groups soon brought together more than 20 groups, and a young composer even volunteered to write “the Animal Peace Song” as the theme song for the march. The march was filled with youthful energy.
The Dogs Club and the Cats Club from nearly 20 universities made short videos before the march, presenting their reasons for supporting the inclusion of animal protection in the basic law and made them available on the Facebook page of their organizations. Some people said, “Animals are sentient and intelligent, even if we can’t give them the same rights as people, we should include animal protection law in the scope of basic law protection.
In addition to representatives of political parties, even representatives from Kaohsiung came to participate in the march, making it a rare event in the history of animal protection in Taiwan. Although the event was forced to end early due to the cold weather, it still achieved its goal of communicating with the community, and after the march, the founding groups will conduct another wave of party meetings with the legislature, in the hope that the bill to incorporate animal protection into the constitution will be passed smoothly.