Taiwan’s Department of Animal Protection is Finally Here!

On May 16, 2023, Taiwan passed the third reading of the Organization of the Ministry of Agriculture Act, allowing the Council of Agriculture to be upgraded to the Ministry of Agriculture. It turns out that the Council of Agriculture is the highest administrative body for animal protection, and with the upgrading of the Council of Agriculture to the Ministry of Agriculture, the much-anticipated “Department of Animal Protection” was finally here!

Since the enactment of the Animal Protection Act in 1998, Taiwan people’s concept of animal protection has progressed rapidly, but in contrast, official animal protection administration has been slow. In addition, the Department of Animal Husbandry manages economic animals, which is very different from the animal protection business, which aims to promote animal welfare.

In 2011, there was a clear call for the establishment of the Department of Animal Protection as a specialised body, and animal lovers formed the “Action Alliance for the Department of Animal Protection”. The main demand is to redress the grievances of more than 960,000 dogs that have been put down by the government over the past 12 years.

In addition to launching a “one person, one letter” campaign to appeal to the government, on 14 October 2011, the Alliance demonstrated its determination with a “crawl”, in which people, including directors and university students, crawled 30 metres to urge the government to respond.

It is worth mentioning that this action was also supported by international friends. In May 2012, on the international petition platform care2, a petition with the theme Taiwan: Form a Separate Animal Protections Agency was launched by foreign friends, demanding the establishment of an independent animal protection agency (agency or department) in Taiwan. In June 2012, PETA Asia also sent a letter of representation to the Council of Agriculture, explaining the importance of separating animal property and animal protection.

Following the government’s clear response that the Council of Agriculture would be responsible for the planning, the establishment of the Department of Animal Protection became a consensus between the government and the opposition, but this involved an organisational reorganisation of the government and was subject to a legislative process, so it was delayed from 2011 until 2023.

After the third reading of the Ministry of Agriculture Organization Bill, the Council of Agriculture specifically stated that the future work of the Department of Animal Protection would focus on strict management of pets from birth to death, including increasing the responsibility of owners, and improving the animal welfare of economic and laboratory animals in order to comply with the relevant regulations promoted by the European Union.