The euthanizing of 154 smuggled cats has been voted the most shocking animal news in Taiwan in 2021, according to a list released by an animal-friendly coalition on Tuesday.
The top 10 animal-related news stories were released by the coalition, comprised of eight animal protection groups, a day before a national animal protection meeting is scheduled to be held.
The killing of 154 pet cats intercepted off the coast of Tainan while being smuggled into Taiwan from China in mid-August was voted the No. 1 animal news of the year.
The controversial handling of the cats by Taiwanese quarantine authorities over fears of rabies, which is at epidemic levels in China, caused a strong public reaction in Taiwan.
Ranked second is the news about Tainan-based Wanpi World Safari Zoo, which gave up its bid to import wild animals such as giraffes, rhinos and zebras from Eswatini, after encountering opposition from animal protection groups, according to list.
The 2021 No. 3 animal news stems from a case involving Bunun hunter Tama Talum, also known as Wang Kuang-lu (???), who was pardoned by President Tsai Ing-wen (???) in May this year after being sentenced to 3.5 years in prison in 2014 on charges of weapons possession and poaching protected wildlife in 2013.
An interpretation delivered by the Constitutional Court on May 7 contended that the Constitution protects aboriginal hunting culture and the protection of wild animals must be weighed against that right.
The fourth placed news dealt with problems caused by alien species, such as sacred ibis and green iguanas, and demands made by the public to stop such animals being brought into Taiwan.
The fifth and sixth animal news stories of the year were the deaths of water buffalo from malnutrition on Yangmingshan, and a man who killed a cat by splashing boiling water on it after an altercation with his girlfriend.
In seventh place is the news about a pitbull whose life was saved by a public petition after it bit and killed a boy, while the eighth placed news is a rule from the Ministry of Health and Welfare that allowed health products to claim benefits based on animal test results, which was accused of going against international norms and sparking grave concerns from lawmakers.
The reported mistreatment of animals at the Taoyuan-based aquarium Xpark and whether stray animals should be given food, an issue which triggered heated debate on social media platforms, are the ninth and 10th top animal news stories of the year.
The coalition said it published the list to highlight the meaning and significance of animal news, as public awareness of animal welfare has improved markedly, extending the focus from animal abuse to the way animals are looked after and used for economic purposes.
The meeting to be held on Wednesday will focus on forging a consensus on how to turn Taiwan into an animal-friendly environment where the health and welfare of humans and animals are seamlessly promoted, it said.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel