Groups urge stop offering animals as prizes

  • By Hsieh Chun-lin and Jake Chung/staff reporter, with a staff writer

Lawmakers from all parties and civic groups yesterday called on the newly created Council of Agriculture (COA) Pet Management Division to end the practice of offering mice, rabbits, birds, reptiles and other small animals as prizes.

The practice harms animals and sets a bad example of the value of life, they told a news conference in Taipei.

Taiwan Rabbit Saving Association Public Affairs Division Chief Lin Chiao (林樵) released several videos showing how small animals are offered as prizes at night markets, fairs and other venues or events.

Photo: George Tsorng, Taipei Times

The environment is unsanitary and the games are inhumane, Lin said, adding that giving animals as gifts leads to other problems, such as owners later abandoning their pets.

The government should ban the practice, Lin said.

Although the Animal Welfare Law (動物保護法) states that animals should not be traded, offered or abused, directly or indirectly, through gambling or other improper means, the regulations are not enforceable, Taiwan Animal Protection Monitor Network Secretary General Ho Tsung said. -hsun (何宗勳) said.

Games and other activities in which animals are offered as prizes are not considered gambling and as long as there are no apparent signs of animal abuse on the site, animal protection efforts will not cannot be applied.

New Power Party chairwoman Chen Jiau-hua (陳椒華) said the law should keep up with the times, calling on the council to provide interim measures to protect animals until new laws are put in place.

Democratic Progressive Party lawmaker Rosalia Wu (吳思瑤) said night markets offering animals as prizes exploit loopholes in animal welfare law and called for an end to the practice.

Wu said she would propose amendments that would reflect the spirit of animal welfare and ensure that people could only get animals as pets from legitimate stores.

Any commercial act that trades or uses animals outside of legitimate channels should be banned, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislator Lin Yi-hua (林奕華) said, adding that she hopes all lawmakers will work together to quickly adopt amendments aimed at protecting animals.

Despite 15 amendments, the animal protection law is still lacking, said Taiwan People’s Party legislator Tsai Pi-ru (蔡璧如).

The nation does not have a specific agency to accommodate pets that are not cats or dogs, or an inspection standard for the illegal breeding of such animals, she said, urging the government to regulate night market activities and step up education on the value of life for the next generation.

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