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10/18/2016

China’s first ambulance for stray animals stays off the road

China’s first ambulance for stray animals stays off the road

China’s first non-profit ambulance for stray animals has run into difficulties as it has been unable to successfully register for a Beijing license plate number, essential to legally drive on the road.

The vehicle was retrofitted to accommodate stray animals as an ambulance, with work completed in July, according to Beijing Morning Post on Tuesday, but since then it has been unable to acquire a license plate.
China’s first ambulance for stray animals stays off the road

The difficulty has arisen due to Beijing’s policy in which license plates are awarded in a lottery system designed to limit the number of license plates given out each month and curb the increase in car numbers.
Under the 2011’s policy, potential car buyers have to join the lottery each month if they want to gain a license plate. Only drivers who are permanent residents of Beijing, or who have paid taxes in the city for at least 5 years are qualified to apply. The numbers applying for license plates far outstrips the allotted number awarded each month.
China’s first ambulance for stray animals stays off the road

As the operator of the first ever animal ambulance, Beijing Ta Foundation, had tried to get around the lottery system and had filed a special application for the vehicle plate number to Beijing MunicipalCommission of Transport. However the special application was denied and officials told the foundation to follow the official procedures.
“Now the car cannot run on roads. We are very anxious.” Zhang Xiaohai, Secretary-general of Ta Foundation, told the Beijing Morning Post.
One possible solution would be for the ambulance to be registered in a nearby city and then apply for a permit to enter Beijing, “but we finally find we are not allowed to set up any branch in other cities as a foundation,” said Zhang.
With many animal lovers inquiring about the ambulance, some netiznes have even offered to give the ambulance their successful lottery license plate registration, something which is against the regulations, but the ambulance organizers have declined the offers.
“This ambulance is revamped in a crowdfunding manner so we don’t depend on an illegal means,” Zhang added.
Since the ambulance’s predicament has come to light, the issue has triggered off a debate amongst netizens on Chinese social media. Some have taken the approach that special dispensation should not be given to the animal ambulance, saying “if the special application was approved, would it mean all non-profit vehicles can take shortcuts?” while others were on the opposite side and wished that the vehicle could be put into service as soon as possible.
A vet named An Mengchen working with Beijing Meilianzhonghe Veterinary Hospital thought that the rollout of the first stray animal ambulance in the country would be a great contribution to animal welfare.
“All life is equal, so the animal ambulance is required. The ambulance plays a significant role in people’s awareness of stray animals,” An said.
According to the Ta Foundation, the ambulance, funded by over 8,000 Chinese netizens at a cost 650,000 yuan (around 96,000 US dollars), took about 6 months to remodel. The most cutting-edged medical instruments have been installed in the vehicle.
Do you have any suggestions as to what the ambulance should do while it is waiting for its license plate? Share your thoughts with us in the comment section.

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