從「神豬案」協作會議,看同理與對話平台的建構

緣起

今年八月中,網友「快樂姆姆」在公共政策網路參與平台提出「終止神豬重量比賽祭祀」連署案,提案人指出,從飼養到屠宰,「神豬」在整個飼養過程中飽受各種虐待與痛苦,因此希望這種競重比賽能夠全面終止,改以其他友善、創新方式替代。此案在附議階段即受到媒體的關注,並在九月初迅速衝破了五千名附議的成案門檻。

行政院的「開放政府聯絡人工作推動會議」(簡稱「PO月會」),是決定什麼案子要進行協作會議的主要機制。十月的PO月會召開時,作為主辦機關的農委會、客委會的代表,即主動提出要將這個案子進行協作。農委會PO(開放政府聯絡人)當時說明如下:

「這個案子涉及的議題是有民眾的信仰文化、動物保護等等的議題,雖然農委會在動物保護的立場上,對於神豬重量競賽並不贊同,但是法律有時是沒有辦法完全來解決民俗的問題,所以必須要跟信眾、參賽民眾及文史工作者來溝通,希望能夠達成一個調整做法的共識。」(引自逐字稿

在國發會的協調下,客委會由於被認為與神豬競重比賽文化相關,因此成為共同主辦機關,主管宗教與民俗文化的內政部與文化部則為協辦單位。在議題跨四個部會的情況下,「神豬」議題展開了為期兩個月的籌備過程,最終於11月15日邀集權益關係及學者專家等人,舉辦了一場協作會議。

行政部門的對齊與定調

這個提案對行政部門來說並非全新的議題,各部會都曾經處理與神豬競賽相關的業務。主辦單位之一的客委會,今年便曾在臉書上發佈「尊重祭祀文化 反對虐待動物」貼文。於是,在籌備過程中,跨行政部門之間快速對齊了認知,也就是「不以法律強制介入宗教祭祀文化」作為基本線,而是以輔導、獎勵等較為軟性的方式,來逐漸推動神豬競重比賽的轉型。

各機關一致認為,以公權力介入宗教祭儀並不妥適。由於提案人希望政府更積極介入,自此看來這個選項似乎已經被提前限縮了。不過,各機關在此釐清了現有的相關措施,尤其農委會已函請地方政府,加強輔導轄內仍舉辦神豬祭祀儀式之寺廟、宗教團體及神豬飼養戶,並追蹤及列管飼養情況。客委會耙梳了神豬比賽的歷史脈絡,指出其中與客家文化的關連。文化部、內政部也皆公開表達了樂見祭儀轉化的立場。

因此,在「神豬競重比賽」的立場上,所有機關跟提案人的目標是一致的,也就是讓現有神豬祭祀形式能夠有一定程度的改變,只是將優先考量人民的宗教自由,再討論如何介入。政府部門同時也表達了「尊重民間信仰」的核心價值,希望在這個前提下進行討論。

籌備階段廣納意見,以及討論問題的設定

基本調性確立之後,各部會開始分工訪談權益關係人,包括提案人、動保團體、保有神豬競重比賽以及轉型的廟方、曾參與神豬競重比賽的信徒、神豬的養豬戶、縣市政府的動保主管機關及專家學者等。由於行政部門立場已達一致,且相當堅定,因此從籌備階段即啟動了政策溝通的工作,但也是在過程中,發現民間各方在意的重點不同,各自對神豬競重比賽的立場,也散落在光譜的各端。

首先,神豬飼養的過程是否構成法規上違法虐待動物,難以概括而論,須以個案事實狀況認定。部會代表跟隨地方政府動保處走訪養豬戶的實際現場,所見與動保團體舉證的過往狀況確實不同,更顯示個案認定的重要性。另外,廟方認為是否改變競重比賽的關鍵在於信徒,然而競重比賽的動力又常是信徒、廟方之間的動態過程,而非單向驅使,更受到外在觀念變遷、政策鼓勵與社經結構變化所影響。信眾所在意的祭祀文化價值與歷史脈絡,也難以直接與動物福利放在同樣的標準下衡量。

於是,各機關同仁與PDIS團隊,決定將此案設定為較有包容性的主題:「如何在民眾自發的前提下,討論替代儀式的各種可能?」

會議實際操作上,則主要分兩階段小組討論,上半場以「如何鼓勵信眾選擇以自然方式飼養的豬隻來祭神?」來確保我們並不是要完全排除掉豬隻飼養的選項,下半場則回到「如何鼓勵信眾運用不同的方式進行酬神還願?」來針對提案人訴求,進行轉型形式與獎勵誘因的激盪。

現場多元組成,帶來的張力動態

協作會議一開始就將座位打散,讓廟方、養豬戶、動保團體、提案人及附議人、專家學者以及各部會代表,交叉坐在不同組內。如前所述,即使行政機關一致認定,不會強制介入祭祀文化,但對於競重比賽的立場其實相當明顯,因此也讓現場的養豬戶感到「被針對」,以至於還沒有進入小組討論,便有人想要離席。

於此,工作團隊除了確保現場的友善氛圍,亦需要會議場域之外的溝通說服。團隊原以為衝突可能一觸即發,然而在進入小組討論後,現場一位來自從神豬比賽成功轉型創意方案的廟方代表,適時扮演了能夠同理、認同養豬戶的角色,而讓養豬戶願意留在席位。

立場與養豬戶相異的動保團體,也意識到遠從外地的養豬戶及廟方,願意到台北來、忍受著現場可能有完全反對其賴以生存的工作的聲音,是難能可貴的事情。因此,縱使立場堅定、論點也相對尖銳,動保團體的仍願意適時軟化態度、提出他們與養豬戶及廟方抱持共同想法之處。而公部門代表不僅是解釋立場與現有作為,也能夠扮演中立綜整的角色,甚至進一步解構需求端的情境,提出另類可能的作法。

靠著機關事前的溝通、受邀者彼此的互相體諒,這場一度可能不歡而散的協作會議,在幾度出現張力較高的討論下,最終仍順利共同完成。

審議主持的靈魂人物:公務員PO

會議前長達兩個月的準備過程,是讓這場協作會議能夠順利完成的關鍵。除了透過「對內溝通」,讓各機關樹立一致的基準,更重要的是各機關同仁能以此基準同理各方權益關係人,讓立場極端不同的人們願意聆聽彼此、共同坐到會議的最後。

同時,在較為微觀的層次,所仰賴的是現場的主持人一視同仁地對待所有與會者、並公平且清晰地收攏各項意見,適時提醒會議定調及當下所聚焦的問題。這場會議的大場主持人來自PDIS團隊,而佔會議多數時間的小組討論中,仰賴的是來自內政部、主計總處與工程會的三位PO作為各組的小桌長(審議主持人)引導各組討論。

在此之前,三位PO親自參與了工作會議、會前會等所有籌備過程,並仔細閱讀會議手冊,對議題內容做足了功課,因而能充分掌握此案的動態。正式會議之前,三位PO們也約了時間跟PDIS團隊一起「沙盤推演」可能的討論情境,更一起設計了協助討論進行的「工具單」。

在會議當天,三位PO充分發揮了開放政府聯絡人應具備的「主持」技術,讓與會者能在有限的時間內,達成有效的對話。

不只公部門,協作會議也可以是民間與民間的平台

協作會議發展至今接近六十場,各因其議題性質、政策階段及權益關係人的狀態,而長出不同的樣貌。本案具有高度的社會關注,觸及動物保護及宗教祭祀等不同的領域,各方權益關係人也有截然不同的思考面向與立場。如果沒有先確立各階段的討論問題,又或是主持人無法適時引導,討論過程極可能發散,而落入各執一詞的狀態。

如前所述,政府機關確立了以公權力介入的底線,在本案當中並未扮演強制執行者角色,但各單位仍積極參與先期的籌備與內外溝通過程,即使是非相關部會的PO也全力投入其中。因此,本案讓我們看到的是,協作會議作為一種體制內的審議式會議,重點未必在於公權力介入的程度,而是讓行政部門作為平台的搭建者,讓民間多元的聲音,能夠有相互聆聽與理解的場域。各部會的出面邀請,也讓這場會議的與會者更加多元。

無論從提案人、動保團體的角度,或是對廟方、養豬戶來說,雖然並未總結出讓任何一方徹底滿意的措施,但各方都能充份釐清現況、表達出各自所在意的事情,確保政府單位作為與不作為的界線。這場協作會議的價值,在於當宗教祭祀文化與人道價值的衝撞發生時,看似無解、對立的各方,能有一個機會看見彼此真實的處境,也促成了各方更往「同理」前進的一小步。

Empathy and dialogue building in the “Divine Pig” case

The value of collaborative meetings is sometimes not the extent to which administrative power is enforced, but rather how much it serves as a platform for communication between dissenting positions among the people.

Origin

In mid-August this year, netizen “Happy Mumu” proposed on the public policy network participation platform a signed case called “Stop the Divine Pig Weight Competition Sacrifice”. The proposer pointed out that during the process from breeding to slaughter, the “Divine Pigs” suffer a lot of abuse and pain, so it is hoped that the weight competition can be terminated and replaced by some friendly and innovative method. The case received media attention at the endorsing stage, and it quickly broke through the threshold of 5,000 endorsements to qualify as a case in early September.

In the Executive Yuan, the mechanism for deciding what cases to conduct collaborative meetings is the “Open Government Liaison Work Promotion Conference” (referred to as “PO Monthly Meeting”). When the Participation Officer (PO) monthly meeting in October was held, the representatives of the Council of Agriculture and the Hakka Affairs Council as hosting organizations, offered to collaborate on this case. The COA PO explained at the time:

“What are involved in this case are issues such as the people’s belief culture, animal protection, and so on. Although the Council of Agriculture does not agree with the pig weight competition from the standpoint of animal protection, sometimes there is no way for the law to completely solve folk customs problems, so we must communicate with believers, contestants, and cultural and historical workers, hoping to reach a consensus on adjustments.” (quoted from the transcript.)

Under the coordination of the National Development Council, the Hakka Affairs Council that is considered to be related to the weight competition culture of the divine pig, is the main organizer, while the Ministry of the Interior and and the Ministry of Culture, responsible for religion and folk culture, are the co-organizers. In the four-ministry case, the two-month preparatory process for the “Divine Pig” issue began. On November 15th, stakeholders were invited to attend a collaborative meeting.

Alignment and tone setting of administrative departments

This proposal is not a brand new topic for the executive branch, and all the ministries have been involved in the business related to the Divine Pig competition. The Hakka Affairs Council, one of the organizers, also posted on Facebook this year, “Respecting the sacrifice culture and combating animal cruelty” to express the stand of the government unit. Inter-organizations first carried out the work of “cognitive alignment” within the administrative department, that is, “not using law to forcibly intervene in religious sacrifice culture” as the basic line, but using softer methods, such as counseling and reward, to gradually promote the transformation of the Divine Pig Weight Competition.

The ministries agreed that it is not appropriate to intervene in religious rituals with public authority. From the point of view of the proposer’s hope that the government will be more actively involved, at first glance, this option may be considered to have been narrowed in advance. However, various agencies also took the opportunity to clarify the existing measures. In particular, the Council of Agriculture has written to the local government to strengthen the guidance of the temples, religious groups, and pig breeders within their jurisdiction who still hold sacred pig rituals, and track and manage the feeding. The Hakka Affairs Council drew up the historical context of the Divine Pig Competition and pointed out its connection with the Hakka culture. The Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of the Interior also publicly expressed their stance on the transformation of the sacrifice rituals.

Therefore, from the standpoint of the “Divine Pig Weight Competition,” all the agencies and the proposer share the same goal, that is, to allow the existing form of Divine Pig sacrifices to be changed to a certain degree. It is only that the means of intervention needs to consider the people’s religious freedom. The government departments have actually expressed the core value of “respecting folk beliefs,” and hoped to discuss them on this premise.

Admit opinions during the preparatory phase, and set issues for discussion

After the basic tone was established, each ministry began to interview the stakeholders, including the proposer, the animal protection group, the temples that hold the Divine Pig Weight Competition and are supposed to transform, the believers who participated in the competition, the Divine Pig raisers, the main agencies of animal protection in the county and city governments, and experts and scholars. Since the positions of the administrative departments have reached a consensus and are quite firm, policy communication has been initiated from the preparatory stage. But in the process, it was found that the parties in the civil society have different priorities and their respective positions on the competition also scattered between the two ends of the spectrum.

First of all, the process of raising the pigs is difficult to standardize. The law violations of animal abuse need to be determined based on the facts of each case. The representatives of the Ministry followed the local government ’s animal protection office to visit the actual site of the pig farmers. What they saw was indeed different from the previous situation of the animal protection group’s evidence, which showed the importance of case identification. The temples believe that the key lies in the believers. However, the motivation for the competition is often a dynamic process between the believers and the temples, rather than being driven in one direction. It is also affected by changes in external ideas, policy encouragement, and changes in the social and economic structure. The cultural value and historical context of sacrifice that believers care about are also difficult to measure directly under the same standards as animal welfare.

As a result, colleagues from various agencies and the PDIS team decided to set the case as a more inclusive theme—“How to discuss the possibilities of alternative rituals on the premise that the people are spontaneous?”

In the actual operation of the meeting, there were mainly two-stage group discussions. In the first half, “How to encourage believers to choose pigs raised in a natural way to sacrifice to God?” to ensure that we did not completely exclude the option of raising pigs. In the second half, “How to encourage believers to use different ways to repay God?” in response to the request of the proponent to carry out a stimulus of transformation forms and incentives.

The diverse composition of the scene brings tension and dynamics

At the beginning of the collaborative meeting, the groups were broken up, so that the temples, pig farmers, animal protection agencies, case proposers and endorsers, experts and scholars, and representatives from various ministries were seated around different groups. As mentioned earlier, even if the administrative authorities unanimously determined that there would be no compulsory involvement in the sacrificial culture, the position on the competition was actually quite obvious. The pig farmers at the scene felt “targeted” and some wanted to leave even before the group discussion.

The working team, herein, in addition to ensuring a friendly atmosphere at the scene, also needed to persuade and communicate outside the meeting area. The team originally thought that the conflict might be imminent. However, after entering the group discussion, a temple representative on the spot, who was from the temple that successfully transformed to the creative solution from the Divine Pig Competition, played the role of being able to empathize and identify with the pig farmers in a timely manner. The pig farmers, therefore, were willing to stay in their seats.

Although the animal protection groups, with very firm positions different from the pig farmers, also realized that it was very precious for the farmers and temples to be willing to come to Taipei from faraway and to endure voices that might be completely opposed to their job for survival. Therefore, even if they put forward sharp arguments, they were still willing to soften their attitude in a timely manner, and mentioned their common ideas with the pig farmers and temples. The public sector representatives not only explained their positions and existing actions, but could also play a neutral and integrating role, and even further deconstruct the situation on the demand side, and propose alternative possibilities.

Relying on the communication between the agencies before hand, and the mutual understanding of the invitees, this collaborative meeting, which might have been parted on bad terms, was successfully completed in the end even if there were several highly-intensified discussion situations.

Review of the soul of the meeting: Public Service PO

The preparation process of more than a month before the meeting was the key to the successful completion of this afternoon’s collaborative meeting. In addition to “internal communication” to establish a consistent benchmark for all agencies, it is more important to use this benchmark to empathize with all stakeholders and allow people with extremely different positions to listen to each other and sit together till the end of the meeting.

At the same time, at the micro level, what was relied on was the on-site host, who treated all participants equally, gathered all opinions fairly and clearly, and promptly reminded the meeting to set the tone and the issues to focus. The moderator of this meeting came from the PDIS team, and most of the discussions were held in group, relying on three POs from the Ministry of the Interior, the General Accounting Office, and the Engineering Society.

The three POs personally participated in the preparation process of working meetings, pre-meetings, etc., and grasped the development of the case before serving as the small table heads (review moderators) of each group. They carefully read the conference manual and did their homework carefully on the topic content. Prior to the formal meeting, the three POs also spent time with the PDIS team to “sandbox” deduce possible discussion scenarios. Together, they designed a “tool list” to assist in the discussion.

On the day of the meeting, POs took full advantage of the “hosting” technology that open government liaisons should have, allowing participants to reach effective dialogue within a limited time.

Not only the public sectors, collaborative meetings can also be a platform for people talking with people

Collaboration meetings have developed close to sixty themes so far, each of which looks different due to the nature of its issues, the policy stage, and the status of its stakeholders. This case had a high degree of social concern, which touched on different fields such as animal protection and religious sacrifice. The stakeholders of all parties had different thinking directions and positions. If it had not established the discussion issues at each stage first, or the moderator couldn’t have guided in a timely manner, the discussion process had been very likely to diverge and fall into the state of each sticking to their own words.

As mentioned earlier, the government agencies limited the bottom line for public authority intervention and did not play the role of enforcer in this case, but all units were still actively participating in the preliminary preparation and internal and external communication processes, and the non-ministry POs also devoted to it. Therefore, what we see in this case is that, as a deliberative meeting within the system, the focus of the collaborative conference is not necessarily on the level of public authority intervention, but rather letting the administrative department as the builder of the platform so that the diverse voices of the people can have a field of mutual listening and understanding. The invitations from various ministries also made the conference more diverse.

No matter from the perspective of the proposer, the animal protection group, or the temples, or pig farmers, although the measures to completely satisfy any party have not been summarized, all parties can fully clarify the current situation and express their own opinions to ensure the boundary between action and inaction of the government units. The value of this collaborative meeting is that when the conflict between religious sacrifice culture and humanitarian values ​​occurs, the seemingly incomprehensible and opposing parties can have a chance to see each other’s true situations, and also promote the parties to move a small step towards mutual empathy.