Seoul announced that Mayor Park Won-Soon personally responded to a suggestion from a citizen saying, “What if we made a measure for the protection of feral cats during restoration or reconstruction projects in the city?” that was registered on Democracy Seoul (http://democracy.seoul.go.kr). Democracy Seoul is a platform for citizens’ participation that has been in operation since October 2017. Through the platform, the citizens and the city of Seoul establish policies together by suggesting and discussing ideas. The suggestion related to the protection of feral cats during urban restoration or reconstruction projects is the second suggestion that reaped a direct answer from the Mayor as more than 5,000 citizens found it agreeable, following the suggestion for fertility treatment injections at community health care centers last December.
The Citizens’ Discussion
What if we made a measure for the protection of feral cats during restoration or reconstruction projects in the city?
What did the citizens think about this suggestion?
Citizens offered diverse opinions on this issue. “We must live together with the feral cats who are living on the streets.” “Serious consideration for the preservation of the ecosystem should follow urban restoration or reconstruction.” “The social perception of feral cats should be changed and a massive institutional reform should be performed by the government for the protection of animals.”
In a video, Mayor Park Won-Soon responded that “we must live together with about 140,000 feral cats that are the neighbors of the residents of Seoul.” He promised the city will prepare a “protection manual for feral cats in urban improvement areas” and the “guidelines for settling civil complaints concerning feral cats.” The Seoul City Council (Health and Welfare Committee) will work for the amendment of the Animal Protection Ordinance of Seoul Metropolitan City to prepare the institutional foundation for animal protection in urban improvement areas and the prevention of abandonment of companion animals.
Seoul will also conduct a pilot project for supporting animal protection starting next year, selecting areas for intensive animal protection together with civil organizations among the areas of restoration or reconstruction. The city will neuter the feral cats living in those areas to limit the growth of the population and have companion animals registered and neutered to prevent abandoment in the future.
Mayor Park Won-Soon wrapped up his response by saying that more Seoul Animal Care Centers will be established in each district for the treatment, adoption, and education of abandoned animals. The roles of the centers will be expanded to take the lead in changing and improving conception of feral cats and abandoned animals. Mayor Park said, “Seoul will design more intricate policies for animal protection and control by listening to the citizens’ opinions, guaranteeing the rights of animals, and promoting the peaceful co-existence of humans and feral cats. We will make Seoul a city in which the everyday problems of citizens are solved.” He asked citizens to actively participate on Democracy Seoul.
The response video from Mayor Park Won-soon on the protection of feral cats in the areas of restoration and reconstruction can be viewed on Democracy Seoul (http://democracy.seoul.go.kr).