Animal Rights

I’ve heard various stories about homeless dogs in Taiwan, and I’d like to get them cleared up:

  1. What’s the government policy on handling homeless animals? Is it true that after housing them for about 1 week, they are then put to death by burning?!?!?!!!

  2. Also, recently I’ve seen a minivan outside of the Japanese School (Tienmu) filled with homeless dogs. Is this a private organization/individual that drives around feeding homeless dogs?

  3. Are there so-called “government-sponsored” dogs (homeless dogs, that get a government tag and are taken care of by the city government)?

Thanks in advance.

Hi. it’s me again. I am not sure about current policy, but I have seen and heard horrible stories about this. I even saw a video of how they put a bunch of stary dogs in a cage and drowned them alive, in Tainan.

Check this link

I hope you can open it this time.

About the man in the van, I believe it is this guy who protests against the government and the TV station TVBS and goes around Taipei in a van. I think he just likes stray dogs a lot, so he has many of them.


This is a topic that really annoys me.

OK, the stray dogs I think take their chances, but it is many of the dogs WITH owners that I am worried about. Near my house is a dry cleaner that has 2 little dogs ALWAYS in a cage (either inside or out). They are in separate tiny cages, and it is extremely cruel.

Is there ANY orgnization (i.e. RSPCA equivalent) or govt. authority that I can comlain to. Failing this I’m going to wait until no one is watching and open the cage doors and let the little buggers loose. Even if they get run over by a bus it would be preferable to living the way they do.

Oh, and also many dogs (especially big ones) have their leads tied so they cannot sit down. They just have to stand there all day. What’s this?

I walked up the mountain near Warner Village, the place was full of stray dogs. Most had pretty horrible diseases. It would be better for the Govt. to put them down than for them to live there with foul (and painful looking) diseases.

Welcome to the Chinese world, the Middle Kingdom, the center of the universe, the place where all non-Chinese are filthy barbarians.
My first meal in Taiwan was greeted by a mangy stray who ambled up to the roadside stall where I was eating, looked at me, and took a shit about eight inches from my right foot. Welcome to Taiwan!
Thanks to Mayor Ma (he’s so handsome!), the situation has gotten better. The drowning cages have been working round-the-clock to make Taipei a more international city. Excuse me, where is fourth boulevard? (NASAL INFLECTION) Hahhhhhhhhh?
A cute little child (LOOK! FOREIGNER! BIG NOSE! LOOK! LOOK! Oh, they’re so cute… Look at the seeds of racism being implanted and encouraged. So cute. Hao ke aiyohhhhh!)wants a cute pet. A girlfriend stamps her little feet and pouts until a cute little dog is purchased for her. Imported from Japan, the desire for cuteness in all things is all encompassing (but those Japanese, what’s wrong with those foreigners? At any rate, they’re inferior to us).
Oh, my god! The dog has to be walked, fed, cared for! I can’t take this. Bye bye, cute little thing, good luck. Fare thee well…Fare thee well…
I’m going back to the US where I can smoke crack and shoot people and be uncivilized. I can’t wait.

In response to one of Susana’s comments, you mean to tell me that someone actually filmed a documentary about stray dogs and no one stopped them from getting drowned???
What was it, an advice program about eliminating unwanted pets?

About two months ago, the Taipei government set up cages in the TienMu park (near the baseball field) to catch stray dogs. It was a very hot/sunny Sunday afternoon, so tons of people around. There’s this half starved dog(no food/water/shade) inside, and the only people who paid it any attention was a little girl who started throwing little pebbles/sticks at the cage!!!

My husband and I brought it food/water, and at night we let it go. After that we’d go back every night and close the cages. They disappeared after a few weeks.

East or West, any society that eats animals for pleasure can hardly be expected to care much about how they are treated. Dogs might have it tough in Taiwan, but pigs, chickens, cows etc etc live and die in much worse conditions in America or just about anywhere else in the world.


I am wondering what the spaying/neutering policy is here in Taiwan, if there is one? I would think that at least that should be required, maybe that would help cut down on some of the stray dogs running around. Does anyone have any ideas about this?

And what is the video called? Can it be obtained?

If you are a compassionate person in Taiwan with the time and money to be interested in helping stray dogs, my opinion is you need a better set of priorities. The domestic violence situation: wife beating and child beating in Taiwan is horrendous. How about prostitution in general and child prostitution in particular? There are groups working on these problems and these issues are more urgent in the scheme of things than is the cruel treatment of animals in Taiwan.-v

Dear V,

Thank you for your insight, but who are you to say that I need a better set of priorities? You don’t even know me. The way that I see it is Women and children for that matter at least have some what of a voice, to get help and get themsleves out of the situation that they are in. Animals in Taiwan do not, and therefore may need the help from COMPASSIONATE people like myself to help them. Besides, as you said yourself there are organizations that are already working on this…why not spread the COMPASSION around? In addition, I don’t see how the ill treatment of animals is any different than the treatment of humans. We (humans and animals)all have feelings, emotions, and hearts.


That’s just crazy logic man. Like lets forget about all the ‘lesser’ issues, becasue there’s more important things out there. I’m not going to worry about this guy beating his wife, because there’s starving kids in Africa and worldwide armageddon to try and avoid - your thinking.

Anyway, people who care about animals generally tend to be more altruistic overall and therefore care more about humans. IMO people who care about animals don’t buy pets and keep them in apartments. They probably don’t have ‘pets’ at all. That’s the root of the problem. Poeple in Taiwan, like most of the world, generally just don’t really care about animals.


Hey Killig M Sofly,

Oh, can’t you see…that’s what V. was talking about, she’s trying to tell you that the men need to be neutered so they don’t rape wives and children who want to buy happy dogs and kitties and then kick them out on the street so that fancy fat white people on a stroll thru the park near Tian Mu eating meaty dead chicken sandwiches from McDonald’s can turn to each other and say “these damned raping, beating, molesting, cheating, uneducated, dirty, black-haired, short, attractive, thin, dog-hating, stupid, non-Christian, not accommodating my fat white non-Chinese-speaking-ass-enough-Chinese people…they really need to learn from us smarter hhoonnkkeeyyssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss

And then, a few years ago, a Taiwanese person moved to the US, and while walking thru the park watching other people strolling by suddenly got the idea “SAVE THE WHALES!”

Softy, if you saw a puppy bleeding on the road or a 2 year old human in the same situation, and you only had time to save one, which would you choose? If the answer is not clear to you, I sure hope you don’t have kids. The above example is my way of illustrating that suffering humans should come before other kinds of animals. And Bu, if I were a billionaire like Bill Gates, I could choose the most most pressing issue that I had a chance of affecting (he has done just that by choosing to finance widescale childhood immunization in Africa/maybe other countries). Since I can’t jet all over the world and spend as much money as I want, I need to choose the most pressing issue I can handle. Human suffering is more urgent than animal suffering. Therefore, if I am going to get involved in alleviating suffering, I will stay within my own species. If you ask what I am involved in now, go to Campaign finance reform of the nature advocated there is something that will hopefully strengthen grassroots democracy, which will improve quality of life on many fronts.-v

I agree with you. As a matter of fact, a similar question was posed on a favorite local talk show of mine. The host’s name was Barry Young, and he was interviewing a spokesperson from the PETA organization. He asked “If there was a house on fire, a human baby and a puppy were trapped inside and you could only save one, which one would you save?” The spokesperson responded “I honestly couldn’t tell you, Barry.”

It’s hard to respect anyone that puts animals on an equal footing with people. Certainly we should have compassion for our animals, and demand ethical treatment for them. The question is, what is ethical treatment for animals defined as? Not eating them?

I’m a meat eater, and don’t have any qualms about animals being food for humans. It’s part of the natural food chain. But I certainly believe that the conditions for animals in the slaughterhouses needs to be drastically improved, not only for the well-being of the animals, but for the well-being of the people, as well. High sanitary conditions in those places would yeild safer and uncontaminated products, as well as more humane conditions for the animals.

quote[quote] Like lets forget about all the 'lesser' issues, becasue there's more important things out there. I'm not going to worry about this guy beating his wife, because there's starving kids in Africa and worldwide armageddon to try and avoid - your thinking. [/quote]

Bu Lai En’s argument is invalid, as his example cited the interests of people vs. people, which takes on a much different significance and meaning than people vs. animals. I don’t think V was implying that we ought to ignore the lesser issues, but simply that the most urgent ones need to be addressed first. Here in Taiwan, there are things we can do to improve human rights more immediately than we can solve the problem of starving kids in Africa.

Lastly, animals do not have rights. Rights, according to Webster’s dictionary, is defined as “something to which one has a just claim”. They cannot claim anything, much less define what their “rights” are. Thus, it is not possible for an animal to have any rights at all. We, however, have the ability to have compassion and treat our animals well. This is something that should be encouraged, taught, and even lawfully enforced (in certain cases). But when the intrests of people are at stake vs. the interests of the animals, people always come first. Because people DO have rights. They can claim and define them, and they MUST come first!

If I had to chose between the injured cat and the injured baby. Well the baby of course. The thing is our lives are not made up of such cut and dried choices all the time. And although some resources liek the donations we make ar elimited and the more we make ot one group the less another gets, other resources are not limited in such away. For example, if I care about the rights of animals and about domestic violence, not eating meat or using products tested on animals (or not buying a cute puppy I can’t look after properly) won’t mean I’ve got any less money to donate to the women’s refuge, or time to work for some volunteer organisation.

I just don’t like to see the fact that ‘there are more serious issues out there’ used as a justification to ignore issues that some people may consider not so serious.

So, crbk, I think my argument is valid. People vs people issues are no different from people vs animals issues. That doesn’t change thelogic in the least. That’s just your own thinking that animal rights is not an important issue. I believe it is an extremely important issue.

You say:

It's hard to respect anyone that puts animals on an equal footing with people. Certainly we should have compassion for our animals, and demand ethical treatment for them.

I don’t think many animal rights supporters consider humans and animals ‘equal’ in the sense that they would personally value an animal’s life over a human life. Taht guy you quoted obviously represents a very extreme viewpoint. But consider many ‘ordinary’ people who don’t care much about animal rights would on a personal level care more about the life of their pet dog than a nameless starving person in Africa.

The question is, what is ethical treatment for animals defined as? Not eating them?

Certainly. The simplest and most meaningful step someone with compasson towards animals can take is to stop eating them. I am not against eating animals for survival (although some are), but the unnecessary killing of animals for our pleasure cannot be squared with claims to care about animals. If you are eating meat you are (probably unknowingly) supporting widespread massive suffering of animals.

quote[quote] Lastly, animals do not have rights. Rights, according to Webster's dictionary, is defined as "something to which one has a just claim". They cannot claim anything, much less define what their "rights" are. Thus, it is not possible for an animal to have any rights at all. [/quote]

Well Peter Singer, the influential author of ‘Animal Liberation’ would be just one person to disagree with you there. You should read the book. It’s fascinating. Obviously words take on much wider meanings than mere dictionary definitions. Using your definition, babies and ‘vegetables’ wouldn’t have any rights either, but they do, like animals, have the capacity to suffer, and that is what they should be protected from.

On a semantic level I think your definition is wrong too, as you only slectively quote the dictionary definition. What about “the power or privilege to which one is justly entitled” or the fact that ‘claim’ does not have to be so active like " to call for : REQUIRE c : TAKE 16b ".

quote[quote] But when the intrests of people are at stake vs. the interests of the animals, people always come first. Because people DO have rights. They can claim and define them, and they MUST come first! [/quote]

OK, this isn’t a personal attack or anything, I’m honestly interested - why? What do you think are the reasons that people are more important than animals?


quote[quote] What do you think are the reasons that people are more important than animals? [/quote]

People have the ability to think and be compassionate toward each other. We value the opinions and expressions of one another, because we are capable of examining our behavior and our choices. We are capable of building things, improving life for one another. We are capable of terrible things, too, but we can make discerning choices. Isn’t the answer obvious?

Animals don’t make discerning choices. They don’t have the ability to express themselves, or improve the quality of life for each other. Some animals eat their young. Others kill for food as a matter of pure instinct, with no hesitation whatsoever. Are some animals good, while others are bad? What do we do with a shark that attacks our children, killing them and severing their appendages?

With people, it is easy to find motivation behind an attack. It’s a choice that one makes. We can identify a bad person vs. a good one. Animals don’t make choices. They act purely on impulse and instinct. They are not intelligent creatures. You can point out all the research that shows dolphins recognize themselves in the mirror, and that ape babies are as intelligent as human babies, but the fact of the matter is that there is a HUGE gap in absolute intelligence.

I believe that many animals were put here on this earth for the very purpose of being eaten. Obviously, this is a matter of personal belief, and the debate can go on and on. But what about animals that exist in abundance, and in some cases overrun certain terrain? When I lived in Colorado, there was a ban on deer hunting for several years. But the numbers rapidly multiplied, and there were so many deer that they were literally EVERYWHERE! They were causing problems, trashing peoples yards and property. There were so many wandering in to the street, they’d accidentally get hit by cars. A friend of mine’s car even got attacked by an aggressive deer! The hunting ban was lifted, and people ate deer heartily, and the population of deer came to a manageable level. Now they have rotating hunting seasons to ensure such a scenario doesn’t occur again.

Animals are important, certainly. They’re important to the ecological balance of this planet. But people are more important because they are intelligent, conscious beings who can improve life for one another, persue happiness, innovate societies and governments, create art and even appreciate and protect our animals.

And now I would like to ask you…why do you feel animals are just as important as people? I would be very interested to know, as well.

As for babies and “vegetables”, they are still people. We within their race know and understand who and what they are. There is a commonality among people, much greater than would ever be possible between people and animals. Our race as a whole can fight for and claim rights. Our babies will be able to express themselves, later in their lives. Those in comas, or severely disabled beyond communication, were able to express themselves once in their life. But we don’t know what the animals are thinking. What are sharks thinking about when they bite someone’s leg off? Animals cannot, and will not ever be able to express their ideas, nor claim any rights.

It’s not that I don’t believe that treating animals ethically is an important issue. I do believe it is. And in my own life, I try to ensure that animals are treated well. I’m a musician, and back home I donated my time (on several occasions) to play at a charity event raising awareness of the slaughterhouse and dairy conditions in Arizona, as well as money to campaign for legislation to regulate them. Most of the people there were vegans. I also know that not all slaughterhouses and dairies are places of evil, as I grew up on a dairy. My family treated the animals well, and their environment was sanitary and spaceous. It was very regularly cleaned and maintained. I’ve seen others where the animals are all clustered together in a cramped space, and terrible diseases are created and spread. The smell is putrid, and the slaughter conditions themselves are careless and disgustingly grotesque.

I don’t believe the slaughter of certain animals for food is a bad thing, but I do believe there are ways in which it is done that are awful. I find it interesting that you refer to eating animals today as killing them for “pleasure”. Eating animals is a natural part of the food chain, however. There are many nutrients that we can recieve from meat, balanced with food from plants as well. We can certainly fight for the ethical treatment of animals without doing away with the meat. In the same manner, we can fight for the improvement of our environment by passing legislation regulating power plants without altogether doing away with electricity. It’s been done!
So what qualms would you have about that standpoint?

After thinking a little about it, I decided my reply to sofly was too mean- the part about I hope she doesn’t have kids. So scratch that part. I still think the life of an innocent person is worth more than the life of an animal. Bu never addressed my Bill Gates example. I didn’t say ignore ALL lesser issues. I said do what you can about something important. I would be more thankful and admire more a person spending their time helping child prostitutes than I would a person helping to get stray dogs neutered. However, since most of us, including myself, aren’t doing much of anything altruistic, the person helping stray dogs is of course also worthy of admiration and is doing good work. I also think that, personally, helping child prostitutes or child victims of pornography, say, is so upsetting to me that I avoid the whole thing altogether. I could forsee myself working to improve the treamtment of animals in Taiwan because, even though it is also upsetting to me to see how they are treated, that kind of upset is manageable. I wouldn’t have nightmares about it and it wouldn’t throw me into a depression. I’m in the US now, but when I was in Taiwan and single and childless, I did take in two stray kittens. They were so young with no mother - I had to feed them every 2 hours around the clock for a while. The formula I got must have not been what they needed, or maybe they were just too young because one died. The other lived for a while, but one day ran out when someone opened the door- at least that was the story I was given when I got back from a trip to the USA. I remember at that time, around 1989, there were foreigners working on improving the treamtment of animals in Taiwan. It was a while ago, but that group might still be around. While in Taiwan I was also involved in the environmental movement and passed on info from the Taiwan EPA, where I worked to, the DPP and our environmental group about issues such as China Petroleum posisoning the ground water around Houjin. So I wasn’t just working on helping those stray kittens. Now I have two kittens for my daughters. Animals give us alot of happiness, but if you are for giving them the same rights as humans, you better leave the door open so that they can come and go as they please. And for BU, if you think animals are just as important as people, than why would you save the human baby and not the puppy?-v

Sorry, no time to answer properly now, although I do enjoy discussing it. Just a quick answer to your last question Vera. Why would I save the baby? Pure selfishness. I save what I have more affinity with. Just like I would save a family member over someone I don’t know.


I was going to try and write a long and detailed argument for animal rights here, but I just can’t do it justice. I really recommend Peter Singer’s ‘Animal Liberation’ even if you’re just marginally interested. Don’t let the strident title put you off. It’s a fascinating and compelling book. I tried to find a link to some of his arguments nline, but couldn’t find a good one.

Briefly, I think that animals like humans have rights or interests. I believe that the same arguments that lead us (or many of us) to believe that the interests of various groups within the human species (women, ethnic minorities etc) should be treated equally can, and should, be extended to animals.

This is not to say that animals are equal (in some sense of intellectual, emotional, or achievement based worth) to humans, but that their interests should be given equal consideration. Singer’s argument, which I tend to agree with, is that it is a being’s ability to suffer that affords it these rights. The suffering that animals endure for the sake of the meat industry and for scientific exeriments is quite amazing. More than most people would imagine.

I strongly believe that if you want to allieviate animal suffering the best and easiest thing you can do is to become vegetarian. There are other things you could do such as campaign for better conditions in factory farms, boycott companies that test on animals, look after stray dogs etc, but not eating meat directly lessens the most suffering, is the easiest of the things to do, and goes right to the main cause of the greatest amount of animal suffering.

Why did I talk about killing animals for our own pleasure? Well most of us don’t need to eat meat for survival or even for nutritional meanings. That means that eating meat is either for our own culinary pleasure or for convenience. I think what a lot of people don’t realise is just how easy it is to become and stay vegetarian. For me the crucial realisation that made me become vegetarian was not ‘why should I nto eat meat?’ but ‘why eat meat if I don’t have to?’

I side argument, that is unrelated: From whose point of view are humans more important than animals? Humans’ of course. Then if fish could think it (which they probably can’t) from their point of view fish are more important than humans (and other species). If soem aliens or gods or somethign decided to judge who was most important then I guess they’re quite likely to use the sort of criteria you use (things based on our cerebral dvelopment as a species) and if they could only save some beings from a earth before the meteor crashed they’d save humans. But what if they used other criteria? And would that mean they’d choose the rich and intelligent over the sipmle and uncultured etc? Probably the earth itself would be better off without humans.

Anyway, CRBK, I do respect the fact that you have made yourself aware of some of the apalling animal suffering. Other people wouldn’t give a shit.

Vera, another reason I’d save the baby over the dog, based on the argument of suffering. Although the suffering of animals and babies should be given equal consideration, I can presumably allieviate more suffering by saving the baby as I presume that the family of the baby would suffer more from it’s death than the family of the dog.

Oops, this is longer than Imeantit to be, and sorry if it turned out soundinga bit too much like a moral lecture.