[Taiwan Spotlight] How well-built is animal protection awareness in Taiwan?

How well-built is animal protection awareness in Taiwan? The number of bills related to animal welfare in the Legislative Yuan should suffice to tell.

The Animal Protection Law, which was promulgated and implemented in October 1998, has been enacted for 22 years and has been amended 14 times so far, and the frequency of amendments to the law is increasing. It can be seen that legislators who are concerned about the trend of public opinion are very willing to devote their efforts to improving the welfare of animals. . The legislators who took office in February 2020 for the tenth session have particularly reflected this phenomenon. The animal proposals for the first session (February to May) and the second session (September to December) are  14 cases in total, of which 9 are amendments to the “Animal Protection Act”, 4 are related to the “Wildlife Conservation Law”, and the remaining one is a highly anticipated amendment to the Constitution.

The number of amendments related to animals in the first and second sessions of the Taiwan Legislative Yuan has reached 14, and a new generation of “animal protection legislators” has gradually emerged. From left: Member Luo Zhizheng, Commissioner Zheng Liwen and Commissioner Chen Tingfei, who proposed 2 proposals, 3 proposals including constitutional amendments and 2 proposals. (photo from each member’s Facebook)

The following describes the general contents of the various proposals in the order of the Constitution, Animal Protection Act, and Wildlife Conservation Law:

1. Amendments to the Constitution:

The “Animal Protection Legislative Movement Alliance”, composed of 8 animal protection groups including the “World Dog Alliance WDA”, proposed to the legislators for “animal protection into the constitution” in early 2020, and visited the four major political parties, and received responses from various political parties.

As a result, the Kuomintang legislator Zheng Liwen preemptively proposed the “Draft Article 15 of the Constitution of the Republic of China” in early October, pointing out that the existing “Animal Protection Act” has insufficient legal status and lacks the functions of national declaration and policy leadership. The “Constitution” strengthens the legal basis of the “Animal Protection Law”and declares the country’s determination to protect animals.

“Republic of China’s Constitution of the Republic of China Amendment Article 15 Draft Article 15” Article content-

“Article 15 To maintain the sustainable development of the earth and respect life, the government should guarantee biodiversity and attach importance to the protection of animals and their living environment.

The country should complete the vision, legal system and values of animal welfare. When animals or their habitat are improperly violated, the people or public interest groups can file lawsuits against the government, enterprises and individuals. “

We can expect that the other three parties will later propose their own constitutional amendments, and everyone can compare and seek the greatest welfare for the animals!

2. Amendments to the “Animal Protection Act”:

l “Article 29 Amendment”-a proposal by Luo Zhizheng committee to target specific pet dealers and exhibit animal dealers who own or manage a large number of animals. In the event of abandonment of animals, penalties will be increased and they must be paid for. Containment fees for animals.

l “Amendments to Articles 1 and 3”-proposed by Member Chen Tingfei, in order to highlight and implement the legislative purpose of protecting animal rights and make the relevant provisions of the “Animal Protection Act” complete. “Improve Animal Welfare” will be added, and add the sentence “Too Negligence” in the definition of abuse in Article 3, Item 10.

  • “Article 25: Amendment to Article 25”-proposed by Commissioner Zheng Liwen, advocating that recidivists who abuse or kill animals with serious circumstances should be compulsory if they are assessed to be necessary for treatment and counselling Treatment and counselling measures.
  • “Article 5 Amendment”-proposed by member Zhong Jiabin, given that the 18-year-old youth has the right to participate in the referendum and is fully responsible for acts in the Criminal Law and has the obligation to perform military service, therefore Change the age limit for pet owners from 20 to 18 years old.
  •  “Article 22: Amendment to Article 22”-Member Yang Yao proposed to require the competent authority to conduct inspections of pet breeding farms, pet trading or fostering businesses, and regularly publish inspection reports to encourage relevant businesses to comply with relevant regulations. Regulations.
  • “New Draft Article 14ter 3”-proposed by member Xu Zhijie, due to the increasing number of animals in public shelters in various places, it is urgently needed for the assistance of private shelters to house animals. However, there is no management of private shelters. The regulations have resulted in the existence of inferior shelters. Therefore, new regulations have been added that private shelters must be applied for and undergo inspection and evaluation to reduce the regret of cruelty to animals.
  • “Article 5 Draft Amendment”——Proposed by Committee Member Xie Yifeng, it is believed that 18-year-old youths have been able to exercise the right of referendum, and are fully responsible for acts in the criminal law, and have the obligation to perform military service, but cannot Becoming a pet owner is obviously against the international trend, unrealistic social phenomena and life needs, and the age of pet owners should be reduced from 20 to 18 years old.

(Editor’s note: This amendment is similar to Zhong Jiabin’s proposal. Zhong Jiabin is a member of the Democratic Progressive Party and Xie Yifeng is a member of the Kuomintang. It is an example of the same issue and different political parties.)

  • “Addition of the “Special Chapter for Stray Animals””- proposed by Zheng Liwen. In view of the implementation of the zero culling policy, the problem of stray animals has emerged. The special chapter on stray animals has been added to clearly define the stray animals, and set the catch criteria and responsibility The government has established a professional team to perform work such as sterilization and pestilence of stray animals to protect residents from harmful dogs and respect the right to survival of harmless dogs.

(Editor’s note: In this case, Item 14 is added to Article 3, stating that stray animals refer to dogs and cats without owners.)

  • “Article 14-1 and Article 30 Amendments”-proposed by Luo Zhizheng Committee to avoid using improper methods to capture animals, causing pain and harm to animals, which violates the spirit of the legislation to respect life. The phrase “without the permission of the competent authority” is deleted, explosives, poisons, animal clips, etc. are not allowed to be used.

3. Amendments to the Wildlife Conservation Law:

  • “Article 4 and Article 6 Amendments”——Proposed by Member Chen Tingfei, regarding conservation wildlife, although the central competent authority will set up a wildlife research institution to conduct investigations and research, and produce conservation wildlife The list does not specify the update period of the list. In order to maintain the accuracy of the information, it is revised to be updated every year.
  • “Addition to the draft of Article 55-1”-proposed by Commissioner Su Zhifen. In view of the express provision of public interest litigation clauses in environmental laws, advanced countries such as the United States and Germany have more than just environmental protection purposes. Civil litigation or public interest litigation for the purpose of animal protection, therefore, the public interest litigation clause has been explicitly added to protect wild animals.
  • “Article 12-1 and Article 23 Draft Amendment”——Proposed by committee member Zheng Zhengqian, the government’s resources for wildlife conservation are seriously insufficient, and it is difficult to meet the needs of endangered species for restoration. It should be clearly announced The endangered wild animals must formulate restoration plans and goals, and encourage the participation of private resources through subsidies, commissions or other methods to increase the amount of endangered wildlife restoration.
  • “Article 17, Article 19, and Article 21 Amendment Draft”-proposed by Committee Member Kong Wenji, in order to protect the hunting traditions of the indigenous peoples, including the addition of indigenous peoples in the indigenous areas, Wild animals can be hunted or slaughtered without reporting to the competent authority, and it is added that indigenous people can hunt, slaughter, or use wild animals for “non-profit self-use”. In addition, due to the infestation of the people by conservation of wild animals over the years When property is damaged, there is no way to make a complaint. Therefore, the provisions of the agricultural natural disaster relief measures shall be used for assistance.

(Editor’s note: In 2016, Commissioner Kong Wenji proposed an amendment to the Wildlife Conservation Law on the grounds of “protecting the hunting rights of the aboriginals”, which aroused strong criticism from animal protection groups and successfully passed the amendment draft by the Executive Yuan. The hunting and killing of conservation wild animals is included in Article 51-1, and the penalty for hunting and slaughtering without permission is 20,000 to 100,000 yuan, and imprisonment is exempted. This time the amendment to relax the hunting rights of the aboriginals will definitely detonate both parties. Offensive and defensive battle.)

Among the 14 amendments, three were proposed by Commissioner Zheng Liwen, and two were proposed by Commissioners Luo Zhizheng and Concubine Yang Ting, which also brought the outline of the new “life protection legislator” to emerge.