Veteran political party Kuomingtang (KMT) always gives citizens a feeling of being old-school and out-dated. Recently, the party has intended to improve its reputation and compete with the governing party, Democratic Progressive Party, with animal welfare policies.
During its years of governance, KMT did not introduce a lot of animal welfare policies. Former President Ma Ying-jeou adopted a street dog when he was still the Mayor of Taipei. Since the dog was looked after by his wife most of the time, he did not share too much about it on social media. President-in-office Tsai Ing-wen has 2 cats and 4 dogs. She always shares their photos on social media. She even brings along them when she meets guests. Such a gesture has gained reputations from animal lovers.
As the new-elected president of KMT, Eric Chu Li-luan intended to gain support from young generations with animal welfare policies. On 23th October, he announced on social media that animal rights and climate changes are included in the party’s manifestos and will be discussed at their annual conference, which successfully drew public attention.
Although Eric Chu did not mention animal rights in the opening speech of the conference, the topic is still explicitly stated in the manifesto on KMT’s website. Obviously, this is a response to the incident of euthanizing 154 smuggled cats.
Just a day before the conference, KMT’s rising star Hung Meng-kai established a cross-party Animal Welfare Committee at the legislature. Among the 30 members, 22 are from KMT, demonstrating the party’s dedication to improving animal welfare.
One of the goals of the Animal Welfare Committee is to include animal welfare in the fundamental law. Such a move is formidable, but at least gives hope to animal lovers.