On November 15, 2022, Taipei City announced the establishment and immediate activation of the Animal Protection Hotline, which will allow Taipei residents to call the hotline via cell phone and local phone to seek immediate assistance once they find an animal in need of rescue. The Animal Protection Line, is not a unique initiative of Taipei City, but actually originated from a proposal by the animal protection groups and was implemented by the legislators, and all 22 counties and cities in Taiwan are required to operate and form a network by the end of 2022.
In the National Environmental Conference in 2021, the animal protection groups proposed to the government to set up a Taiwan-wide animal protection hotline, hoping to effectively improve the reporting rate of animal abuse and the efficiency of immediate rescue. In May 2022, four legislators from the Democratic Progressive Party called on the Council of Agriculture to set up the All-Taiwan Animal Protection Hotline in the form of a press conference, and requested that the local animal protection agencies be given sufficient manpower to improve the administrative efficiency of animal protection.
The committee officially responded to the legislator’s request in July, stating that the 24-hour rescue hotline for pets would be set up in line with the “domestic violence hotline”, which could be opened at the end of 2022 at the earliest. The reason why Taipei City can be the first to start the special line is because the well-funded Taipei City Department of Animal Welfare has long established a 24-hour rescue team, so this time it is only the original animal rescue line number, changed to a unified use of 1959 across Taiwan, another rescue task force in New Taipei City Department of Animal Welfare, decided to wait until the end of the year and other counties and cities together to start the special line.
According to the Agriculture Commission’s statistics, the average annual number of reported cases of animal protection in Taiwan is more than 150,000, and there are only about 170 animal protection inspectors in charge of inspection, while the number of reported cases received by the Taipei City Animal Protection Department in 2021 is as high as 9,844, which is almost 2/3 of the total number of reported cases in Taiwan. If the shortage of animal protection inspectors is not filled and increased, it may become another kind of chaos, and even attract public discontent.
The progress of setting up rescue teams and increasing manpower in each county and city is unclear at the moment, but the Agriculture Commission has definitely indicated that it will open a hotline by the end of the year. How to receive reports, and then distribute the case to the county and city animal protection agencies? It is really curious, and we can only wait for the answer to be revealed.