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WE THE ANIMALS: Taiwan legislature to enshrine animal rights in the Constitution

Taiwan People’s Party legislator Tsai Pi-ru (蔡壁如) stated that the transition from animal welfare to animal dignity is a step forward in human ethics, and that there is a constitutional movement for the incorporation of animal rights worldwide.

HUANG HSIN-PO: Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan is likely to consider three constitutional amendments to enshrine animal rights in the Constitution, a move that has found support from lawmakers across party lines, legislators have said. Separate draft versions of the amendments have been introduced for this legislative session by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Cheng Li-wun (鄭麗文) and Taiwan People’s Party Legislator Tsai Pi-ru (蔡壁如).

Other lawmakers who expressed support for the proposals include Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators Chen Ting-fei (陳亭妃) and Tsai Shih-ying (蔡適應)… DPP Legislator Hung Sun-han (洪申翰) said that enshrining the protection of animals in the Constitution is supported by lawmakers from multiple parties, adding that the issue “is important for Taiwan’s progress as a civic society”…

Tsai Pi-ru’s proposal seeks to add an article to the Constitution stating that “animals are not objects; they possess sentience and they are entitled to dignity. This objective value shall be protected explicitly by law.” She said the transition from animal welfare to animal dignity is a “step forward in human ethics,” and that there is a constitutional movement for the incorporation of animal rights worldwide, including in Austria, Brazil Egypt, Germany, India, Luxembourg and Switzerland… In addition to better protecting animal rights, the amendments would facilitate efforts to adjust damages and liabilities in legal cases stemming from harm to animals, she said…

Cheng’s version proposes that “the government shall protect biodiversity, prioritize the protection of animals and their habitats,” and “the nation shall prepare an animal protection vision, rule of law and prioritize animal welfare”… Her proposal says that private citizens or civic groups should have the right to litigate the government, private enterprises or other citizens for causing unjustified environmental harm…

Another animal lover, DPP Legislator Chuang Jui-hsiung (莊瑞雄), urged caution. “Proponents need to clarify if they want an animal rights amendment or animal protection amendment,” he said… “If it is animal protection, that could be beneficial in giving more legitimacy to the making of animal protection policies or laws. However, if they are talking about animal rights, then we will be called upon to draw the bonds between the rights of different animals and even between the rights between animals and plants”. SOURCE…

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