Apr 6, 2007
Taipei - Taiwan's animal rights groups on Friday opposed the government's plan to introduce horse racing and legalising betting on it, saying cruelty to animals should not be tolerated.
'Horses are not suitable for racing. Many break their legs during racing and are crippled, and when they can no longer race, they are put to death or sold to slaughter houses,' Chen Yu-min, director of the Environment and Animal Society of Taiwan, told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.
'The government has failed to boost the economy, and now it is suggesting horse race gambling. We can hold a public debate to see if the public support it or oppose it,' she added.
Shih Chao-hui, a Buddhist nun involved in animal rights campaigning and a staunch anti-gambling advocate, also objected to the government's plan.
'Studies have shown that in places where gambling is legalized, the gambling industry alone thrives while other businesses decline,' she said.
On Thursday, a cabinet official said Taiwan plans to legalize sports gambling in central and south Taiwan to boost regional economic development.
Chang Ching-sen, deputy director of the Council for Economic Planning and Development, said apart from betting on horse racing the cabinet also planned to introduce and legalise two more kinds of sports gambling, one on car races and another on a type yet undisclosed.
Car racing could be the first to be introduced, because Taiwan does not need to change any law for it, Chang said.
Horse racing could be the second, because Taiwan needs to amend laws since the Animal Protection Law bans using animals for gambling purposes.