Harming animals by 'acts of omission' included in revised law

04/27/2021 06:28 PM
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A dog is pictured at a recent consumer fair held for pet owners. CNA file photo
A dog is pictured at a recent consumer fair held for pet owners. CNA file photo

Taipei, April 27 (CNA) Taiwan's Legislature on Tuesday passed an amendment to the Animal Protection Act that expands the definition of "abuse" to include "acts of omission," with those convicted facing a maximum of two years in prison and a fine of up to NT$2 million (US$71,800).

Before the amendment was passed, "abuse" was defined as actively harming or treating animals in such a way as to render them unable to physically function -- for example by injuring them or causing organ failure -- as a result of violence, administering the wrong drugs or other improper behavior when rearing, looking after or dealing with them.

However, starving animals to deaths or leaving them to fend for themselves can also be an act of abuse, said Legislator Chen Ting-fei (陳亭妃) of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party, one of the lawmakers who sponsored the amendments to the 1998 act.

According to Chen, "acts of omission" means a lack of proper care and is a form of passive cruelty.

Examples of severe animal neglect include starvation that could lead to pain and suffering for an animal, and thus should also be seen as a form of abuse punishable by law, she said.

In addition to "acts of omission," the amendment also adds harassing animals with objects -- defined as "the improper use of objects" -- to the definition of "abuse" under the Animal Protection Act.

Under Taiwan's existing laws, harassing, abusing or injuring animals is illegal and anyone convicted of killing, deliberately hurting, or causing injury to an animal, can be punished with up to two years in jail and a fine ranging from NT$200,000 to NT$2 million.

The amendment also revises Article 14-1 of the act, which currently bans the use of "explosive materials, poison, traps, electricity, corrosive substances, or firearms to capture animals without the prior consent of the competent authorities."

The revision deletes the phrase "without the prior consent of the competent authorities," according to the Legislative Yuan.

In addition, lawmakers also revised Article 22-1. This currently stipulates the competent authorities of a special municipality or a provincial county or city must regularly inspect and conduct quality reviews of licensed pet breeding farms and vendors, based on inspection and verification regulations established by the central government.

Tuesday's revisions add that regular inspection reports shall be made publicly available.

Once the revision is promulgated by President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), it will come into immediate effect.

(By Lin Yu-hsuan and Elizabeth Hsu)

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