Officials of the Council of Agriculture (COA), in cooperation with local governments, announced a new program to control rabies on October 4
th, World Animal Day. The program involves promoting rabies vaccination and implanting microchips to register pets, while simultaneously neutering or spaying dogs; it will take place in some key locations, such as mountainous areas and remote townships, beginning next year.
Due to the recent reoccurrence of rabies among the local animal population, officials of the COA said that they planned to promote the “triple source reduction management program” as well as encourage dog adoption; they believe that these measures will reduce the number of stray dogs in rural areas and also help control rabies. In addition, these proposals should also enhance animal welfare, ensure public safety and improve the quality of the environment.
According to a sample survey conducted by the COA in 1999, the number of stray dogs was on the decline in densely populated areas, but in remote townships and mountainous areas, where stray dogs often gather together in packs, the picture was somewhat different.
The officials said that the program will be launched in rural townships and mountainous areas next year. Local officials will arrange the schedule and inform residents, sending veterinarians and volunteer workers to implement the program by vaccinating dogs, implanting microchips to register dogs, and neutering or spaying dogs. The aim of the measures is to reduce the stray dog breeding problem which causes outbreaks of disease, accidents, biting, chasing people or livestock and other problems.
The officials also indicated that the new measures stipulate owners’ responsibility for taking care of their pets, while improving animal welfare as well as public safety and quality of life.
COA officials also hope that the Legislative Yuan, which recently began consideration of amendments to the Animal Protection Act (APA), can pass the revision to the law and specify owners’ responsibility to ensure neutering and spaying of pet dogs, in order to stop using taxpayer money for issues related to stray dogs; many of these problems are caused by irresponsible owners. The current draft of amendments to the APA also adds articles about pet food safety management and the use of human drugs in dogs and cats, in order to protect the safety of pet food as well as their medical rights and interests.
To assist the national public animal shelters in becoming more effective in the area of housing and adopting animals, COA plans to promote creative, efficient diversity projects, involving organized, professional adoption teams, integrated marketing concepts, as well as the cooperation of animal protection groups, veterinarians and pet service industry, in order to encourage people to take practical action to support adopting dogs, instead of buying them.
The officials urged local governments to pay more attention to animal protection by establishing dedicated units and providing adequate manpower and resources to implement various inspection operations and to promote related businesses. Through these measures, officials expected people to recognize government’s intention to respect animal life and to conform to the international trend of animal protection, in order to encourage society as a whole to promote a better, more animal-friendly environment.