Taiwan’s birthrate is among the lowest in Asia, and is due to delayed marriages, analysts say. Having children outside of marriage is still socially unacceptable, and economic barriers to having children include minimal maternity leave entitlements.
At the same time, pet ownership is skyrocketing.
In September analysts estimated the number of Taiwanese pets had overtaken the number of children aged under 15. The pet accessory retail market is booming, and was worth US$1.52bn a year in 2015. It has continued to grow ever since.
There are prams and strollers, sunglasses, raincoats and even socks for dogs available.
Wu Hang, the executive director of the Environment and Animal Society of Taiwan (East), worries that the desire for these items stem from “an anthropocentric way of thinking about animals and treat them as accessories for human fulfilment, rather than focusing on the animal’s needs. This can lead to serious welfare problems when the best interests of the animal are overlooked.”