TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Council of Agriculture (COA) said Monday (Sept. 21) it will implement new measures to prevent pet smuggling.
Pet shop owners will be required to input information about transactions into an online portal to make animals' origins more transparent and facilitate checks by the authorities, according to a CNA report.
The announcement comes after the government culled 154 smuggled cats last month, citing the risk of diseases that could pose a serious threat to animals in the country.
According to the Cabinet-level COA, existing laws require vendors to register the origin of each pet they sell as well as the buyer's information, but not digitally. This means transparency is patchy, as the owners can just jot the information on paper, which is harder for authorities to trace and verify.
This creates loopholes for store owners to trade in pets of unknown origin, COA official Chiang Wen-chuan (江文全) told CNA.
Chiang said it will soon be mandatory for the roughly 2,000 pet shop operators nationwide to register transactions online. Going forward, the COA will be keeping a closer watch over these transactions, he said.
The online portal is already being developed and is expected to be operational by early next year, Chiang added.
The authorities previously said they will rewrite existing laws to increase penalties for those found guilty of animal smuggling. Currently, fines of between NT$40,000 (US$1,437) and NT$200,000 are given to persons found selling pets from breeders or traders without permits or trading or transferring them to a third party without having implanted ID microchips in the animals.