A new law that bans animal euthanasia is set to come into force in Taiwan – almost a year after a vet committed suicide when she reportedly became overwhelmed by the grief and sadness of her job.
Chien Chih-cheng, who worked at a shelter for abandoned dogs in Taiyuan City, took her life on May 5 last year – using the same drug that she used to euthanise the animals.
She allegedly left a suicide note that explained how she was disturbed by euthanising animals, and had taken her own life as a message that ‘all lives are equal.’
In the months before her death, she also became known nationally as ‘the beautiful slaughterer’, after admitting that she had killed some 700 dogs in two years.
The shelter where she worked was also said to be littered with photos of the dogs in an attempt to encourage adoption – but the vast majority of them were put down.
Speaking after Ms Chien’s death, a co-worker said: ‘They called her a butcher… We are frequently scolded. Some people say we’ll go to hell. They say we love to kill and are cruel.
‘But people still abandon their dogs. You hear all kinds of reasons: their dog is too mean, or not mean enough, barks too much, or doesn’t bark enough.’
Now, a zero euthanasia bill is now set to be introduced in Taiwan nine months after Ms Chien’s death – but the government have denied that their tragic passing was the catalyst behind it.
Local authorities have instead said that Ms Chien’s death was a separate human tragedy – and will now offer emotional support to shelter workers.
But not everyone is convinced. Speaking previously, Taiwanese vet Kung Chien-chia claimed that the policy would actually increase the suffering of animals.
He told the Taipei Times: ‘Zero euthanasia is a false policy if there are no supportive measures to reduce pet abandonment rates to zero. Shelters have limited spaces, personnel and resources, but the number of admitted animals will keep increasing. The false policy — which the government created for better publicity regardless of an animal’s situation — will cause more pain to animals.’