Taipei, April 3 (CNA) The Council of Agriculture of Taiwan (COA) has established a Pet Management Division, which will be responsible for regulating the pet industry, as well as the ownership and animal welfare, the COA announced on Sunday.
At a press conference in Taipei, COA Minister Chen Chi-chung (陳吉仲) noted that around 2.5 million dogs and cats are currently kept as pets in Taiwan, while the annual output value of the domestic pet industry has reached over NT$500 million. ($17.42 million).
“At the current annual growth rate of 10%, that means there could be 12 million pet dogs and cats in the country by 2040,” Chen said, adding that pets deserve protection. social “just like people”.
In a press release, the COA said the new section was being created ahead of planned changes to the Animal Welfare Act, which will strengthen government oversight of the pet industry and try to ensure the welfare of animals kept as pets.
It will also be responsible for drafting a “white list” of animal species and breeds that can be kept as pets, based on standards of animal welfare, human and animal safety and the risk of domestic animals becoming species. invasive, the COA said. .
The section will initially have six employees at the COA headquarters and around 100 staff working in local government offices, with an annual budget of NT$150 million, according to the COA.
Speaking at the event, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said planned legislative changes would focus on “traceability”, requiring pets to be registered at birth and whenever they change owners throughout their life.
The creation of the section follows criticism from animal welfare groups – particularly those dealing with abandoned and stray animal issues in Taiwan – that the COA was not doing enough to crack down on the irresponsible pet owners and breeders.
Last month, Chen said the new section would initially focus on dogs and cats, but would expand in the future to include other types of pets, such as birds and pets. reptiles.