TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — At the “Taipei Animal Protection Month” press conference on Thursday (Sept. 2), Taipei Deputy Mayor Huang Shan-shan (黃珊珊) addressed rumors that Taipei Animal Shelter’s new location will be near Taipei Zoo, adding that a location had not been selected yet, reported UDN.
The rumor raised concerns about the safety of zoo animals and zoonoses, or diseases that can be transmitted to humans from animals. There have also been mutterings of budget increases and the eventual postponement of reconstruction plans for the new animal shelter, which has caused growing controversy.
Huang attended the Taipei Animal Protection Month press conference to promote animal protection awareness and the idea of an “animal-friendly city.” She said while it was true the Taipei City Government is considering a location near Taipei Zoo, there are two or three other options that will be presented to experts, and the decision should not affect zoo animals.
On Aug. 21, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) criticized quarantine officers for putting down 154 smuggled cats and said “a country that mistreats animals cannot call itself progressive.” In response, Taipei City Councilor Meredith Huang (黃郁芬) said that in May, the Taipei government tried to cut the new shelter’s space by 700 ping (2,314.2 square meters) to appease Ko for fear of being reprimanded due to the increasing budget.
Two days later, Ko announced at a press conference the decision to postpone all plans to rebuild the shelter. He also blamed the central government’s “unbalanced policies” for causing the price of construction materials to soar.
He responded to accusations of exploiting the popularity of animal protection issues by saying, “I have found a pattern that whenever President Tsai posts on Facebook in the middle of the night, I can expect media to launch planned, organized attacks on me.”