March 4, 2004
Chronology of HSUS/HSI Animal Protection Activities in TaiwanInhumane animal control practices, unspeakable housing conditions for stray dogs and cats, and the suffering endured by these animals in Taiwan (the Republic of China) was headline news around the world in 1995. Since then a quiet revolution has slowly been taking placeone in which The Humane Society of the United States/Humane Society International (HSUS/HSI) has played and continues to play a key role, described in the outline that follows.
HSUS/HSI writes to the Taiwanese government urging reform of inhumane animal control practices and supporting proper training in animal handling and control.
HSUS/HSI is invited to participate in a conference on animal welfare developed by Dr. Liang Chou Hsia, professor of animal production at Pingtung University of Science and Technology, and sponsored by the university and several Taiwanese animal protection groups. The main topic of discussion is stray dog control. Martha Armstrong, Vice President, Companion Animals, and other lecturers visit Taipei shelters and pounds. Armstrong and Dr. James Serpell of the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine accompany Dr. Hsia to meetings with public officials regarding stray dog control.
Extensive correspondence and material related to humane animal care and control flows from HSUS/HSI to Taiwan. In particular, information on humane euthanasia, including an introduction to Vortech Pharmaceuticals, is shared. HSUS/HSI and the Hawaiian Humane Society (HHS) begin to lay the groundwork for a comprehensive training program for all Taiwanese animal control workers.
A hoof and mouth disease epidemic in Taiwan raises fears of a potential rabies epidemic, which results in a bounty being set on dogs in some areas.
JuneRepresentatives of the Council on Agriculture (COA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) accompany Dr. Hsia to two days of meetings in Honolulu with HSUS/HSI and HHS staff to review problems, assess causes, and design a plan to resolve Taiwan's stray dog problem.
AprilHSUS/HSI, the HHS, and various members of the government of the Republic of China sign an historic agreement in which the three entities become partners in the effort to reduce the number of homeless dogs in Taiwan. In addition, four Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) are signed with two government agencies (the COA and EPA) and two Taiwanese nongovernmental agencies (the Animal Protection Association of the Republic of China and National Pingtung University of Science and Technology) to work together to promote humane animal control and responsible pet ownership in Taiwan.
AugustHSUS/HSI and the HHS conduct a two-week workshop at the HHS facility in Honolulu for 14 representatives from the COA, EPA, and other government and private organizations of Taiwan. Topics addressed include humane animal capture and handling techniques, spay/neuter procedures, dog behavior, adoption policies, health and evaluation, as well as legislative action and how to promote community support for the humane treatment of animals. This "train the trainers" workshop is designed to acquaint Taiwanese animal workers with the full spectrum of animal care, control, and protection work.
NovemberWith strong support from HSUS/HSI and other animal protection organizations worldwide, Taiwan passes its first animal protection law. The new law is a vital part of the overall plan to resolve the stray dog and pet overpopulation problems.
DecemberHSUS/HSI and HHS conduct a two-week training of nearly 90 animal workers and veterinarians at National Pingtung University of Science and Technology and meet with highest-level government officials. Larry Gates, of the architectural firm Gates, Hafen & Cochrane, meets with Dr. Hsia in Pingtung and Drs. Fei and Yen in Taipei to discuss shelter design, including plans for a new Taipei City animal shelter.
FebruaryThe Taiwanese government further demonstrates its commitment to humane animal control by signing of an agreement with Vortech Pharmaceuticals for the provision of sodium pentobarbital solution for humane euthanasia. The government mandates its use throughout Taiwan for euthanasia purposes.
JuneHSUS/HSI and the HHS conduct a 40-hour training course in Pingtung to prepare government officials to serve as inspectors as required by Article 23 of the new animal protection law. The government of Taiwan budgets approximately $5 million for continuing special training for animal control officers, shelter workers, and veterinary inspectors. The mayor of Taipei City budgets over $1.5 million to develop humane education materials and to send staff to Pingtung University for training in conducting inspections of animal facilities.
DecemberHSUS/HSI and the HHS conduct another in-country training for Taiwanese animal care and control workers and veterinarians at National Pingtung University. Meetings are held with government officials in Taipei to review progress made in previous trainings, implementation of the new Animal Protection Act, compliance with the new licensing/registration law, and plans for building new animal shelters throughout Taiwan.
FebruaryCOA chairman Shiang-Nung Ling presents an update on the progress of Animal Protection Law implementation and new shelters in Taiwan at the HSUS Animal Care Expo in Las Vegas. Meetings are held with Chairman Ling and HSUS President Paul Irwin to discuss future plans for collaboration.
AugustMartha Armstrong and HSI Executive Director Neil Trent meet with COA staff to discuss progress made under the existing MOU and the possibility of signing a new MOU in April 2001. HSUS staff visit and meet with the staff of the newly opened Taipei City shelter.
NovemberHSUS/HSI and the HHS present further training courses in Taiwan in conjunction with the Taipei County Veterinary Medical Association. Progress on the development of a comprehensive humane animal care and control program and building of suitable animal shelters is evaluated and recommendations made. Further discussions are held regarding the signing of a new MOU and clarifications are made as to training evaluation and progress. HSI staff meet with Taipei city shelter staff to review plans for the new shelter and urge major revisions of plans.
AprilCourses in shelter management and animal welfare inspection techniques are conducted in Taiwan by HSUS/HSI, HHS, and Marin Humane Society (Novato, California) staff. Many of the students are those who have participated in previous HSUS/HSI training sessions. A second MOU is signed by HSUS/HSI and the COA under which the organizations will continue to work in cooperation with one another in addressing the issues regarding stray and homeless dogs and cats and furthering the protection of all animals in Taiwan.
DecemberHSUS/HSI staff conduct additional training for Taiwanese animal protection workers and for 200 elementary school teachers from the Kaohsiung area. They meet with staff of the Taipei City animal shelter to discuss problems of shelter design and possible solutions. They also meet with Taipei City Mayor Ma to learn about issues facing the shelter and to explore a more formalized agreement between HSUS/HSI and Taipei City for training and assistance on animal care, control, and protection. They tour the new Kaohsiung City and Taipai City shelters, meeting with staff from both facilities to evaluate their progress and offer suggestions for continuing improvements in operations and programs. Armstrong lectures at National Taiwan University for Dr. Fei's class on animals and ethics.
AugustHSUS/HSI conduct a dual-focused workshop in Taiwan on shelter design and management. The audience includes not only veterinarians and shelter workers but also architects and building designers. The form and function of the shelter and its impact on animals is highlighted. HSUS/HSI staff also visit the shelter in Hsin Chu County to look at plans for a new shelter with their architect, who had attended the workshop just completed. At a meeting with the COA, progress to date was discussed.
MarchAfter poor conditions at some Taiwan dog shelters were brought to the attention of HSUS/HSI, staff conducted unannounced visits to 27 animal shelters throughout Taiwan. During the shelter visits HSUS/HSI documented severe problems at some shelters including inadequate staffing, poor animal care, and violations of the animal protection law. After the five-day shelter tour, HSUS/HSI presented the findings to COA government officials. HSUS/HSI expressed concern that these negligent conditions were not brought to our attention by the government itself, but by non-governmental organizations. Such lack of communication showed a failure on the part of the Taiwanese government to comply with the 2001 MOU in which the two organizations vowed to work cooperatively with one another to address animal sheltering issue in Taiwan. HSUS/HSI felt that these poor shelter conditions should have been discussed by COA so that we could provide assistance and make improvements. As a result of this breakdown in communication and trust, HSUS/HSI felt it necessary to cancel the MOU until the government takes these issues more seriously and shows some initiative towards taking steps to improve animal shelter conditions in Taiwan. It is important to clarify, however, that The HSUS/HSI has not abandoned our efforts in Taiwan altogether. We will continue to provide assistance, education, and advice to those in the country working on these issues.
SeptemberAt the request of the Taiwan Veterinary Medical Association, HSUS/HSI staff conducted training workshops over the course of four days in Kaohsiung for an audience of varied participants which included professors, veterinary students, veterinarians, and animal shelter employees. Topics presented included animal protection trends around the world, animal protection trends in the United States, pet shops and inspections, working with the media, adoptions, volunteer management, improving the public perception of shelters, and pediatric sterilization.