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Taiwan SPCA finds Neiwan 'mystery museum' keeping animals in cruel conditions

Neiwan attraction fined by Hsinchu government, other locations being investigated

A photo taken by the SPCA shows some of the snake enclosures. (Facebook, Taiwan SPCA photo)

A photo taken by the SPCA shows some of the snake enclosures. (Facebook, Taiwan SPCA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A tourist attraction displaying reptiles and other animals in central Taiwan’s Neiwan Old Street has been investigated by the SPCA, who have determined it is keeping animals in cruel conditions.

The SPCA said on Tuesday (Aug. 22) that the attraction Daisy Mystery Museum in Neiwan is breaking animal protection laws, per CNA, and the Hsinchu Country government confirmed that it would be fined until it improves conditions for the animals. Spokesperson for the SPCA, Huang Wei-lin (黃威霖) said the business failed to properly regulate temperature, humidity, and light levels in the animals’ display cases, and provided them with very small spaces.

Huang also said animals were not provided with private spaces where they could shelter from bright lights and loud noises caused by tourists. The SPCA also found a mutated two-headed Brazilian tortoise with a severely deformed shell caused by a lack of sunlight, and tortoises with overgrown nails.

Huang said that in the right habitat, tortoises will naturally scratch and file their own nails, but given the monotonous box they are kept in at the tourist attraction, they are unable to do so. Huang also noted that pythons are exhibited in a glass box that serves as stairs in the exhibition, and said the snakes would be easily frightened by tourists walking over them.

Taiwan SPCA finds Neiwan 'mystery museum' keeping animals in cruel conditions
A python is kept inside a staircase visiting tourists use in the 'museum'. (Facebook, Taiwan SPCA photo)

Taiwan’s animal protection law states animals may not be exhibited without a permit, which the business does not have. The SPCA said that the business is exploiting a legal loophole that allows businesses to display animals if they are for sale, when they are in fact part of an exhibit, a fact admitted to CNA reporters by an employee of the business.

Hsinchu’s animal protection and epidemic prevention authorities said that because the venue did not apply for a permit to exhibit and intentionally skirted regulations, it would be fined. Under Taiwan law, a minimum fine of NT$50,000 (US$1,565) and a maximum of NT$250,000 can be imposed for the alleged offences committed.

The business owners also operate similar exhibits in four other locations throughout Taiwan and keep more than 50 animals across all locations. Huang said that the Miaoli Country Government did not issue a fine to the business for its operations there because it met local trading regulations. The Nantou Country Government said it has asked the business to remove a tortoise it displays, and is continuing to investigate other possible infringements.

The SPCA post made on Tuesday highlighted the animals' poor living conditions.