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Veterinarians should treat animals, not kill them: official

Veterinarians should treat animals, not kill them: official

The job of a veterinarian should be to treat animals and not kill them, a Council of Agriculture (COA) official said Monday amid an outpouring of sympathy in the wake of the death of the head of an animal shelter in an apparent suicide earlier this month.

Chien Chih-cheng, the head of the shelter in Taoyuan, was found to have swallowed a drug used to euthanize cats and dogs May 5. She left a suicide note in which she said that she loved animals very much and felt great distress having to kill them so often.

The 32-year-old vet said she had to end her life to remind the public that "there is no less importance in the life of an animal than the life of a person," and she also expressed hope that the government can work to control the proliferation of strays at the source.

Peng Ming-hsing, a section chief of the COA's Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine, said that currently, vets are not being put in the right position to do the right work, which he said "has dealt a big blow to their morale."

He said that the job of a vet is to "treat animals, not to put them to death."

Chen Pei-chung, president of the Taiwan Veterinary Medical Association, said that the tragic death of Chien should not be repeated, adding that a vet is usually one who loves animals, but the nature of their job changes when they work in shelters.

He said that while vets should be saving animals, preventing outbreaks of rabies or avian flu, a lot of those working in animal shelters have to deal with protests and complaints from the public and turn from animal savers to animal killers.