Taiwanese veterinarian overwhelmed with concern for stray animals euthanized herself
Her name is Chien Chih-cheng. She was a very bright woman who graduated from Taiwan’s top university. She had the highest mark in the civil service exam. She could have worked anywhere but chose an animal shelter where she showed massive dedication but became suicidal over the high kill rate.
On 5th May 2015, she took her own life using the same drugs she had used to kill hundreds of unwanted rescue animals. The first time that she saw an animal being euthanised she went home and cried all night.
She was vilified by the media when it was revealed that she had euthanised 700 dogs in two years. But each time had taken its toll on her and now that she is gone there is an outpouring of grief and national guilt for allowing so many animals to be unwanted.
Her death seems to have sparked national introspection on the country’s attitude towards pets. Not neutering and spaying being a cause for concern. Breeding informally is another area of concern. There are not enough people in animal rescue and control.
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She died just before a major change occured in Taiwan’s animal laws. She knew about this. It begs the question as to whether counselling should be given to people like her who apparently needed it. Should counselling be on hand to shelter staff?
From 4th Feb 2017 it’ll be illegal in Taiwan to euthanise abandoned animals. That is a massive change in the law. The country has increased the budget for animal control and rescue by 40% and there will be more inspectors. A person abandoning a pet at a shelter will pay a fee of $125 (USD).
She told the media what happened when a dog is put down:
“We first let it take a stroll and eat some snacks and talk to it. Then we take it into the ‘humane room’. When you put it on the table, it’s very scared and its whole body is shaking. But after we administer the drug, it leaves in three to five seconds. It no longer shakes. Actually, it’s very sad.”
In a letter she wrote before taking her life she said:
“I hope my departure will let all of you know stray animals are also life. I hope the government knows the importance of controlling the source [of the problem]….Please value life.”
An amazing woman. A tragic story. A wonderful animal welfare law banning euthanasia of shelter animals which must be unique in the world. And to think that China considers that Taiwan belongs to the Chinese. China has no animal welfare laws whatsover. Leave Taiwan alone, please.
Source: BBC website.
My heart breaks that this caring woman did not live to see her country set new standards for its animals.
Me too. It is tragic. She needed counselling.
Workers in slaughter houses often end up with PTSD and other mental disorders. Stands to reason vets and techs in high kill situations end up with the same problems.
How sad that such extremes are needed to wake up the public.