TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — At an online press conference on Thursday (Sept. 2), animal rights groups accused Kaohsiung’s Jingyuan Ranch (淨園農場) of abusing animals and the government of turning a blind eye.
Held jointly by the Taiwan Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (TSPCA), Taiwan Animal Equality Association (TAEA), and AnimalSkies,, the press conference focused on Jingyuan Ranch's alleged mistreatment of exotic and domestic animals.
Group representatives, including TSPCA CEO Chiang I-ju (姜怡如) and TAEA Investigator Lin Ting-i (林婷憶), accused officials from the Animal Protection Office (APO) of not doing enough to protect the animals, which were kept in poor conditions. They also alleged the ranch had continued to exhibit animals illegally and had done nothing to improve their quality of life.
On its website, Jingyuan Ranch boasts of a wide array of exotic and domestic animals, including tropical birds, alpacas, porcupines, gibbons, hippopotamuses, and lions. Visitors can interact with the animals “at no distance” with a ticket, which is NT$250 for adults.
Tickets to Jingyuan Ranch. (Taiwan Animal Equality Association photo)
However, during six inspections, the TSPCA and TAEA determined the animals lived under inhumane conditions. At the press conference, Lin presented photos of caged dogs, deer, and two protected gibbons. The enclosures had slippery floors, and Lin said inspection groups had seen deer slipping and falling.
Lin alleged that a lack of stimulation had resulted in deer and goats exhibiting abnormal behavior frequently seen in captive animals, while the lions were lethargic and unresponsive. Aside from allegedly not providing enough food, the ranch also kept rabbits and guinea pigs in the same pen and left them unsupervised with visitors, who were accused of harassing and scaring the animals.
Goat at Jingyuan Ranch chews on railing. (Taiwan Animal Equality Association screenshot)
Lin said staff at the ranch had told them, “Animals don’t necessarily need medical care” and “It’s expensive to provide medical care.”
The TSPCA and TAEA showed what they said was photo and video evidence of horses, flamingos, peacocks, and porcupines with signs of skin diseases. According to Lin, a malnourished alpaca photographed in September 2019 had died, while another alpaca had died from heat exhaustion.
Porcupines at ranch appear to have skin disease. (Taiwan Animal Equality Association photo)
The TSPCA and TAEA accused the government of apathy and allowing Jingyuan Ranch to operate when it had repeatedly gone back on its promises to make improvements to the animals' living conditions and stop demonstrating them.
On Thursday, Kaohsiung’s Animal Protection Office said it had issued a NT$50,000 penalty to the ranch for illegally exhibiting animals on Aug. 16 and asked the ranch to cease animal exhibition, reported the Liberty Times. On Aug. 27 during another inspection, the office found the ranch had continued showing the animals, which will result in another penalty of between NT$50,000 and NT$250,000.
As for neglect, the Liberty Times reported that the APO had issued a warning and asked the operators to make improvements within a deadline.
The APO invited veterinary experts on another inspection Friday (Sept. 3), CNA reported. The parties reached a consensus with the ranch’s operator to cease animal demonstration, to screen for appropriate adoption entities, and in the case adoption is not possible, to take better care of animals and improve their living conditions.
According to CNA, while aggressive animals such as lions and hippopotamuses can be given up only after registering them with the relevant government departments, mild-tempered animals may be adopted by civilians.
In response to the allegations, Jingyuan Ranch announced the cancelation of all animal exhibitions and interactions via Facebook post on Friday. "In order to comply with 'Animal Exhibition Management Regulations,' we will adjust the ranch's operation model and 'no longer offer any animal exhibition and interaction," the post read.
The ranch said it will continue operating with the twin goals of "human sustainability" and "technological environment protection" and do its best to create a more comfortable space. Many commentators online lamented the removal of the animals, while others expressed an interest in visiting.
Visitors handle rabbits at ranch. (Taiwan Animal Equality Association photo)