On Saturday, Taiwan stopped euthanizing shelter animals

Euthanasia can be a humane treatment for both humans and companion animals. But putting down a pet just because she’s a nuisance or because the owner doesn’t want to care for her anymore is cruel and selfish.

On Saturday, a law took effect in Taiwan that outlaws killing shelter animals. There are concerns that it’ll lead to overcrowding and poorer conditions in shelters, and I have a hunch that the law will be tweaked over time. But to me, it sounds like a great start.

Frankly, I had no idea that there was such a huge debate over shelter animals in Taiwan. Nor did I know that a shelter director had committed suicide by taking the same drugs she used to euthanize thousands of animals:

In May 2016, in a chillingly symbolic act, Chien [Chih-cheng] committed suicide by ingesting animal euthanasia drugs, as national media reported. In a series of suicide notes, she said she could no longer bear the distress of having to put so many dogs to death, according to the BBC.

“There is no less importance in the life of an animal than the life of a person,” she wrote.

The law to end euthanasia in shelters had already been passed by the time that Chien (whose surname, by odd coincidence, is the French word for “dog”) took her own life. I suppose the anguish she felt was just too great. I’ve never experienced depression myself, but I have a hunch I might’ve if I’d been in her shoes.

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