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Old zoo to become history amid rising animal protection consciousness

Old zoo to become history amid rising animal protection consciousness

Taipei, July 24 (CNA) A private zoo in Tainan's Madou District in southern Taiwan is set to be closed for good in January next year, with the owner complaining that the newly revised Animal Protection Act will make his business too challenging to run.
"Making the decision is painful," said Chiu Hsi-ho, owner of the Madou King of Crocodile Zoo, on Friday.
Once the revisions to the Animal Protection Act take effect on Jan. 23, 2016, it will be more and more difficult for small-scale private zoos to survive, Chiu said, admitting that he will be unable to run a zoo when the relevant laws become stricter than when he started his business nearly 40 years ago.
The death of a male hippopotamus named "A He" late last year at another private zoo in Taichung triggered public outcry over animal abuse, prompting lawmakers to amend the Animal Protection Act.
The revision bill, passed Jan. 23, stipulates that an "animal show vendor" must have a license from the competent authority prior to commercial operation.
A He, which had been a long-time favorite with tourists that flocked to his home at Taichung's Skyzoo recreational farm, died Dec. 29, 2014 apparently from injuries sustained when it jumped from a moving truck and later fell a second time while suspended in mid-air over a pond at a farm in Miaoli where it was supposed to be treated.
A nearly 40-year-old crocodile, called "Xiao He," is a star animal at Chiu's zoo. At a length of 5.8 meters and a weight of 1,250 kilograms, Xiao He has been "trained" by Chiu to "perform" in the zoo's regular animal shows. It was even forced to allow visitors to sit on its back for photographs.
Xiao He has drawn many business opportunities for the zoo, Chiu said.
Apart from the crocodile, Chiu's zoo is also known for keeping "unusual" animals, such as a turtle with three heads, a crocodile without a tail and featherless chickens.
Over the past few years, however, his animal shows have been blasted by animal protection groups accusing Chiu of animal abuse.
His zoo has been singled out as one of Taiwan's top 10 worst animal farms, he went on, saying that "it made me feel terribly bad," since he has always spared no efforts in attending to the "rare animals" he keeps in captivity.
Saying that he has never violated the existing Animal Protection Act, Chiu added that he has taken many measures to improve his zoo.
The regulations, however, are becoming more and more strict, thanks to increasing awareness of animal welfare. "It is almost impossible for a small zoo keeper to follow them," according to Chiu. (By Yang Sz-ruei and Elizabeth Hsu)


Updated : 2021-09-21 21:57 GMT+08:00