TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Quarantine officers in southern Taiwan drew criticism from animal rights groups after they shot 154 pet cats on Saturday, August 21, which had been smuggled into the country on a two-day fishing boat earlier.
Coastguard staff handed the cats over to the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Bureau (BAPHIQ) on Friday after intercepting the vessel off the coast of Tainan on Thursday and escorting it to the port of Kaohsiung, according to a statement. CNA Report.
When Coast Guard officers searched the fishing boat, they found 154 pet cats in 62 cages on board, including breeds such as the Russian Blue, Ragdoll, American Shorthair Persian and British to short-haired, said Fu Hsueh-li (傅 學 理), the head of the Kaohsiung branch of BAPHIQ. As the origin of the cats was unknown, they were euthanized to guard against the importation of infectious diseases that could harm other animals and humans in Taiwan, he said.
Permits are required to import animals into Taiwan and they must be inspected and quarantined at the port of entry, Fu said, citing the Statute for the Prevention and Control of Infectious Animal Diseases. If these conditions are not met, the animals would either be slaughtered or refused entry, according to the law, he added.
Animal rights groups, however, condemned the decision and urged prosecutors to investigate the case and bring the smugglers to justice. “It is such an irony that government officials slaughtered the cats today, on International Homeless Animals Day,” five environmental groups said in a joint statement.
Established in 1992, International Homeless Animals Day is celebrated on the third Saturday in August each year.
Anthony Ni (倪 京 台), spokesperson for Animal Rescue Team Taiwan, said that while it is important to protect the country’s ecosystem, authorities in Taiwan should remember that contraband animals are innocent of anything. crime. Ni said he and his group had tried in the past to stop Taiwanese authorities from killing turtles and other contraband animals, but failed because the law does not allow flexibility.
He called for amendments to the relevant law that would ensure humane treatment of contraband animals. One of the recommendations from his group is to allow adoption of animals after they have been inspected and quarantined.