Taipei, Sep 20 (CNA) The Council of Agriculture (COA) on Monday said it will require pet shop owners to record all transaction information online to make animal origin more transparent and facilitate checks by the authorities to prevent trafficking in pets.
The move came after 154 contraband cats were shot dead by authorities last month on the grounds that they could carry diseases and pose a significant threat to the health of pets and livestock in Taiwan.
Police authorities later arrested a chief suspect named Lin (林) who owns an animal farm in Kaohsiung and is believed to be behind the smuggling attempt.
Lin is currently in custody for alleged violation of the Statute for the Prevention and Control of Infectious Animal Diseases.
According to the Cabinet-level COA, existing laws require pet store owners to record the origin of every animal they sell as well as the buyer’s information for every transaction, but they are not required to scan the records. data, which means they can choose to save the information on paper only.
However, this makes it difficult for authorities to carry out regular checks on pet transactions and thus creates loopholes for pet store owners to sell animals of unknown origin, the official told CNA. of the COA, Chiang Wen-chuan (江 文 全).
To prevent pet smuggling, Chiang said the COA will force some 2,000 pet operators in Taiwan to register their transactions online soon and tighten regular checks on those transactions.
The online check-in system is currently under construction and is expected to be completed by the end of this year before it officially goes live in the first quarter of 2022, according to Chiang.
The COA and lawmakers have already said they will amend existing laws to increase penalties for animal smugglers.
Currently, the Animal Welfare Act imposes fines ranging from NT $ 40,000 (US $ 1,437) to NT $ 200,000 on offenders found selling pets to herders or unlicensed traders; or the trade or transfer of these animals to a third party without implanting identification chips.