PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 15 August, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 15 August, 2006, 12:00am

Q Are animal abusers being treated too lightly?

When do you know that Hong Kong's lawmakers are barking mad?

When they believe that a HK$500 fine is enough punishment for a person who has chopped off a puppy's legs and left it to bleed to death.

What are we to do about it?

For example, I have sent newspaper clippings of the recent cases of cruelty to dogs to American television personality Oprah Winfrey.

If - and it's a big if, but one can only try - Oprah decides to bring these cases to the attention of the world, perhaps - just perhaps - this might be what is needed to jolt our lawmakers into taking this subject seriously.

News of these same cases has also been sent to animal activist Sir Paul McCartney, who cancelled his mainland concerts after seeing a film where cats were being boiled alive. Perhaps a letter from Sir Paul to our lawmakers will have a greater impact than what anyone in Hong Kong might have to say on the subject?

One never knows unless we try. And try we must.

Hans Ebert, Wan Chai

I feel sad after hearing the news about a poor puppy whose legs were chopped by some brutal person a few days ago. Our society has not done much to prevent the tragedy and to save animals. I think this issue has not been taken seriously enough.

Like humans, animals have lives that are valuable. Humans always claim that we have to treat each other well; why don't we use the same attitude towards all animals? Stricter laws should be imposed to protect them, and to punish those who abuse them.

Animal abuse is totally unacceptable. Both the government and the public should take prompt action and put more effort into protecting animals.

Yuki Yu, Tin Shui Wai

Q Do you think workers are sufficiently protected from workplace hazards?

In the past, a lot of workers were injured or died because employers did not provide enough protection. But the number of occupational injuries last year showed a drop by 30.3 per cent since 1998.

I think workers are sufficiently protected nowadays, partly because employers are more aware that they may face injuries claims from their workers.

For instance, those who work on construction sites need to wear helmets. If they work at height, they must wear a safety belt. In kitchens, workers must wear anti-slip PVC boots.

The government has set up laws requiring employers to ensure they provide a safe workplace for their staff.

Chan Shuk-han, Tseung Kwan O

Q What should be done with Lantau's wild cattle?

Your article about the feral cattle in Lantau is timely, but it is disappointing that there is no solution yet.

Coming from a nine-year stay in Singapore, I am surprised that a problem as apparent as this can be left unsolved, considering all the problems experienced over the past years related to animals such as bird flu and mad cow disease.

I live near Sai Kung central, a quite densely populated area, and there are about 50 cattle roaming the narrow streets every day.

Do we really need to wait until something bad happens to people before we do something?

Dr Quincy Chen, Sai Kung

Being a Hong Kong resident for more than 35 years, out of which I have only lived in Tai Tei Tong, Lantau, for about 18 months, I see with great pleasure daily Lantau's wild cattle wandering around. I agree with Bob Bunker's comments in Talkback that if you don't like cattle why live in 'the country', as Mui Wo certainly is by Hong Kong standards.

As an expatriate businessman, I do, however, like Mr Bunker, have the choice not to live in 'the country', but this is certainly not the case for most of the farmers, with the cattle affecting their livelihood, resulting in them having to build often ugly makeshift fences.

Unfortunately though, in very few cases are they 'big expensive fences'; they are mostly very ugly structures built from discarded boxes, furniture, old refrigerators and all kinds of other available materials.

This does nothing for the general environment of this otherwise beautiful area for the many locals and tourists who visit South Lantau for enjoyment and peace, to escape the hustle and bustle of most of the rest of Hong Kong. So, while I enjoy the cows and their presence very much, I do agree with the proposal to relocate them to the grassy hills near Shek Pik Reservoir and fence them in.

I would then ask the Environmental Protection Department to come and take a look at the ugly fencing, and other probably illegal structures and rubbish to have all this unruly mess removed, even if the government pays for it.

It would be worth the money and make this wonderful part of rural Hong Kong much more appealing and beautiful, for us all (including the local farmers).

Terkild J. Terkildsen, Mui Wo