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

2016-10-28 16:58:43
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.
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.
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 
Municipal Commission 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.