There will be elections in Taiwan in January 2024, which means that the legislature now has only eight months left in its term. Although more than 70 amendments to the Animal Protection Act have been proposed in total during the current term, they are mostly stuck in the first reading, and once the election is held for a new term, all bills that have not completed the legislative process will become dead based on the principle of non-consecutive terms, thus making animal protection groups very anxious and determined to step up their efforts to urge the legislature to complete the entire process.
The animal protection groups pushing for the amendment of the law can be divided into two broad groups, one which only actively visits and lobbies without using public opinion; and the one, which calls on the public to sign a petition for the amendment of the law and organizes activities to demonstrate their mobilization ability. Which type can effectively achieve its goal? Basically, both sides should have a multiplier effect, making it difficult for the legislature to ignore this wave of voices.
The former group met with relevant lawmakers, belonging to the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the Kuomintang (KMT) respectively, and any one of them that could get an amendment to the animal protection bill on the agenda would significantly improve the chances of completing the third reading of the legislation. These initiative-based animal protection groups have shortlisted three major priority bills, namely.
- The manufacture, trafficking, display, possession or export of animal tongs and metal snares is totally prohibited. These are often responsible for the loss of limbs and even the death of dogs, and are dangerous to wildlife conservation.
- Repeal the statute in the Management of Apartment Buildings Ordinance which prohibits the keeping of pets by residents.
- The use of live small animals (including rats, rabbits, fish, birds and amphibious reptiles) as game objects and game giveaways is totally prohibited.
The latter group has adopted a mass sign-on campaign, and unlike the normal sign-on platform, it uses AI intelligence to register by calling a dedicated phone line, hoping to break the 500,000 sign-on mark in one fell swoop. In addition to the signatures, a full-day campaign was held outside the legislature on April 30, calling on them to make sure that the amendments are scheduled for consideration by the end of May, in order to complete the amendments by the end of this year. The amendments that these groups are most concerned about include.
- Issues of sentences, fines, counselling and compensation for those who abuse and kill animals, with a particular focus on psychological counselling and treatment for perpetrators.
- Advocates for increasing the scope of inspection by animal protection inspectors, the discretionary power of the animal protection administration to confiscate and rehome animals in danger, and the establishment of animal protection police.
- Reasonable regulation of owner responsibilities, heavier fines for abandonment and inaction, and the establishment of an animal protection fund are called for.
Which of the above bills do you think is the most important? And which one will Taiwan pass? The answer may not be revealed until the end of this year.