相對於幾萬年以上的動物使用歷史，我們正視到動物並非僅僅是方便我們生活的工具的時間，只有短短兩百年左右。一直到十九世紀初，世界上才開始出現比較完整而全面的動物保護思想及相關立法。在此之前，動物僅能依靠人類偶發的惻隱之心。 在學者及動物保護團體的推動之下，台灣在1998年11月04日順應世界潮流，公佈施行動物保護法。不過，台灣動物保護法之立法動因主要係解決當時之流浪狗問題，而後才是保障動物福利。動物保護法在立法之前被寄予厚望，而被當作能夠全面性解決所有動物問題的動物保護靈藥。 可惜事與願違，立法之後不但流浪狗問題依然，其他動物福利問題也相繼浮現。為解決這些問題，動物保護法數度修法，並在最後兩次修法中，加入了入罪化的規定，對虐待動物者科以徒刑。但是這樣的嚴罰之下，動物被虐殺的新聞仍然時時可見，動物福利問題依然存在。 本文就觀察動物保護法的發展過程，以及該法與社會間的互動，全面性地探究動物保護法在台灣效果有限之原因。本文認為，動物福利的實現，必須奠基於民眾動物保護意識之提升，嚴刑峻法只能收效於有限的時間及空間內，而無法全面性地解決問題。換言之，動物保護法的入罪化並非不可行，但仍須從基本面著手，以收全面之效。
Comparing with several thousand years animal-using history, it only has about two hundred years when facing up animal is not only tools which facilitated human being's life. It began to appear more complete animal protection thought and relevant legislation until the early 19th century. Before that, animal can only depend upon the human accidental sense of compassion. Under the effort of scholars and animal protection organizations, Taiwan complied with the global trend and announced to execute Animal Protection Law in November 4, 1998. The major reason, however, behind the legislation was to solve stray dog problem at that time then safeguard the animal welfare. The Animal Protection Law was placed with great expectation before the legislation and was treated as the efficacious medicine that could solve every animal problem. Unfortunately, the stray dog problem had not been solved either animal welfare related issues also emerged from one after another. The Animal Protection Law therefore amended several times and criminalized the animal abusers in the last two amendments. Under such strict penalties, however, animal mistreating was still a social phenomena and animal welfare problems still exist. This thesis discusses why Animal Protection Law produced little effect in Taiwan with observing the development process and social interaction of the Law. The author believe that raising animal protection consciousness of people is the basis of accomplishing the animal welfare and the heavy penalties can only be effective in the short term. Criminalizing the misconduct of abusing animal in the Animal Protection Law is feasible but not fundamental.