The focus on animal rights in Taiwan has been increasing steadily over time, just as it has been in many countries. There has also seemed to be a marked jump in this focus since the passage of the Animal Protection Act in 1998. Now Taiwan might be looking to set the bar even higher.
While current laws a far cry from the time before the Animal Protection Act passed, they still aren’t up to snuff for many animal rights activists.
Animals in Taiwan are still largely treated as objects in the eyes of the law. Even when people’s pets are killed by individuals other than their owners are often simply compensated by the cost of the animal. They aren’t viewed as anything more than inanimate property. This means that they have essentially no rights and this is even worse for wild animals.
Of course, for protected species people can face serious consequences for killing animals, however those that are not earn very little protection and have essentially no rights as living beings. Activists hope that they can ride the recent wave of amendments to the constitution to get an amendment of their own. While there unfortunately wasn’t any progress during a recent round of amendments to the constitution, animal rights activists are refusing to give up.
Animal rights groups are going to hold a march and speeches in Taipei on February 20th to raise recognition for this effort to amend the constitution and give animals some of the respect they are entitled to. Thankfully it seems like at least some individuals from both major parties might be interested as well.
Both KMT and DPP representatives have voiced support for the push to give animals constitutional rights. Hsu Shu-hua (許淑華), a member of the Legislative Yuan representing KMT from Nantou, has been a longtime supporter of animal rights. She has voiced her support for the move and reportedly suggested to current Secretary-general of the DPP, Lin Hsi-yao (林錫耀) to join in on this push.
Lin has said that members of the DPP will send representatives to participate in the events and listen to suggestions from the activists. Xu will reportedly also be attending and voicing her support. Other parties have also spoken out in favor of the move.
Tsai Bi-ru (蔡壁如) of the Taiwan People’s Party stated that during the two issues with the largest consensuses were lowering the voting age to 18 and animal protections. Yuan Chen Jiau-hua (陳椒華), Chairperson for the New Power Party and member of the Legislative Yuan, has also come out in support of amending the constitution to give animals more rights.
While this move seems quite popular in numerous parties throughout Taiwan, unfortunately, despite some members of the KMT supporting the effort such as Hsu Shu-hua, the KMT refused to participate in the discussion.
Hopefully, with so many representatives from so many parties around Taiwan, possibly even a consensus, the KMT will come back to the table and defend animals that have no way to defend themselves. That is the purpose of the ‘Speak up for animals, animal protection in the constitution’ (為動物發聲，動物保護入憲) march to happen later this week.
Hopefully with members of both major parties, at least certain members, appearing interested in this push for animal rights, there might actually be some serious moves, and hopefully progress and success, towards increasing animal rights in Taiwan.
*The parade is currently scheduled to depart at 2pm on February 20th in the afternoon from Ketagalan Avenue in front of the Presidential Palace. The route returns via Xiangyang Road and Zhongshan Road. At the end of the parade, in front of the Legislative Yuan, the press conference will be held.
The movement announced the parade route in a press conference today. It is tentatively scheduled to depart from Ketagalan Avenue in front of the Presidential Palace at 2 pm on February 20, and return to Kaidao via Xiangyang Road and Zhongshan South Road. A press conference will be held in front of the Legislative Yuan. Reaffirming our stance on speaking up for animals.