A dog, which had been injured by a trap, is pictured surrounded by its puppies. The dog appeared at a press conference organized by the Taiwan Life Caring and Animal Rescue Organization and DPP Lawmaker Tien Chiu-chin. They hoped to raise public attention to the issue of animals injured by traps. (CNA)
TAIPEI, Taiwan — The Taiwan Life Caring and Animal Rescue Organization (LCO) and Lawmaker Tien Chiu-chin of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party yesterday jointly called for the government to immediately restrict sale of animal traps and ban use of such traps to catch animals such as dogs and cats.They issued the call at a press conference held yesterday, showing a trap-injured black dog surrounded by seven baby dogs at the conference.
Jung Mei-ling, spokeswoman of the LCO, said after receiving a call from an informant on Dec.11, 2010, the LCO found the injured dog, then pregnant, in Xindian District of New Taipei City, and the dog was forced to have its left front leg amputated one month after giving birth to seven baby dogs. Now the dog retreats fearfully upon seeing steel traps.
Jung continued that there have been quite a few wild cats and dogs injured by leg traps, adding that her organization rescued over 400 cats and dogs caught in the traps, over 20 percent of which died afterwards.
She said that the Animal Protection Act clearly stipulates that only licensed individuals are allowed to use leg traps, and violators can face fines of up to NT$75,000 (US$2,558). Nevertheless, people can easily buy the devices at any hardware store, Jung lamented.
The LCO spokeswoman urged the government to immediately ban the sales of leg-hold traps and revised a revision of the Animal Protection Act to impose heavier criminal penalty on those who maltreat wild animals.
At the press conference, Lawmaker Tien also called for Interior Minister Jiang Yi-huah and Director General Wang Chou-chun to pay greater attention to the issue of animal traps, saying that such traps may injure children as well.
At the same time, Wu Chin-chun, an animal activist in southern Taiwan's Kaohsiung, noted that such traps can be easily purchased for less than NT$30, adding that her organization receives over 30 calls a month related to such cases.
Another activist said that animals caught by the traps suffer great pain and are often forced to drag the trap around until the leg falls off or they die of massive blood loss or starvation.
According to the Council of Agriculture, it has reached an agreement with the country's hardware association to make sure store owners demand to see a license before selling the traps. Stores caught selling the traps to unlicensed individuals will face fines of up to NT$15,000.