PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 14 November, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 14 November, 2007, 12:00am

How can respect for animals be promoted?

People who care about animal welfare tend to be quite well off and they can afford the cost of looking after an animal.

Poor people have to think about their own livelihoods. In some extreme cases, they may use cats and dogs for food, which is accepted in Chinese culture.

Hong Kong is a civilised international city. People who hurt animals must be dealt with through the courts.

I think a taskforce is needed to patrol districts, with the help of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and people who abuse animals must be prosecuted.

Also, the government should allocate more resources to the police so they can enforce and stop people killing animals for food, which is illegal to do.

The mass media can help to get the message across, that people must show respect for animals.

Another way to send the message to all levels of society is for the relevant organisations and animal lovers to hold an animal festival that raises public awareness over the need to care about animals and to feel sympathy towards strays.

The message must be put across that animals deserve to be treated decently.

Tsang Chi-kin, Yuen Long

We must try to ensure that people respect animals.

To raise public concern about the abuse of animals, the government must make more adverts to raise public concern about the abuse of animals.

As a student I think much can be achieved through education and the message has to get through to children at an early age. We cannot expect our younger generation necessarily to do the right thing while we are seeing animals getting hurt.

Parents have an important role to play here. They need to make sure their children grow up believing that animals deserve to be loved and protected.

Schools should also get the message across to students, with discussions and seminars. They can learn how serious it is to hurt an animal.

Children should visit the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals centre so they can see first-hand the animals that have been hurt and abandoned, and acquire a deeper understanding of their plight.

Because many young people use computers, the internet can be used. We can urge young people to visit websites, such as that of the SPCA, where they can learn about caring for animals.

The government must increase the penalties for those people who are caught hurting animals.

The police should treat those cases seriously.

Shirley Kong, Kwai Chung

How can mental health services be improved?

I was astonished to learn that about 15 per cent of Hong Kong people suffer from various forms of mental illnesses, and the psychiatrist-to-population ratio in Hong Kong was far behind other developed societies ('Psychiatrists raise alarm on health care', November 12).

The case of a woman jumping to her death after killing her two children by throwing them out of an apartment window shocked us all.

It illustrated the fact that mental health services in Hong Kong are insufficient to meet growing needs.

I think there are a number of measures we can adopt to deal with these mental health problems:

The quota of doctors being trained by the College of Psychiatrists must be increased from 10 to 15 a year to at least 20;

The government should subsidise those patients who cannot afford the high fees charged by private-sector psychiatrists;

It should also raise the percentage of gross domestic product spent on mental health from 0.24 per cent to at least 0.58 per cent, which is the percentage spent in Britain; and

A comprehensive mental health policy should be drawn up, so that private general practitioners can share the burden of taking care of more psychiatric patients.

If these measures are implemented, then I would hope the growing need for social and mental health services could be satisfied and we can prevent future tragedies.

Chu Kwok-wing, Tin Shui Wai

Should subsidies for heritage projects be capped?

Revitalisation is the most effective way to keep our historic buildings.

If these buildings are retained and revamped, society can retain the collective memories that these buildings bring to people and developers who are assigned to do the necessary work will also benefit. In effect, it is a win-win situation.

However, without government subsidies, the redevelopment of a historic building may be very different from what we expected. If there are not sufficient subsidies, work on a building may be halted, or developers might go in a different direction from what was originally intended.

When deciding what to do with a historic building, we must look at the long-term picture.

A building that has been properly renovated can help educate the next generation about Hong Kong's history.

Whatever is done to an old building in the course of a revamp, it must maintain its authenticity so students can get a feel for the history of the building.

These buildings also attract tourists. You can see this with the Murray House in Stanley. I believe that by spending in the right way today, we will gain in the future.

Stella Ng, Lai Chi Kok

On other matters...

With reference to your correspondent M. Lee's comment (Talkback, November 2), the saloon temperature of all KCR Corporation trains is pre-set within the range of 23-26 degrees Celsius, with on-board sensors to cut off the blowing of cool air if the temperature drops below the desired range.

The instantaneous saloon temperature may vary according to passenger load, external ambient temperature and a draught entering into the carriage through open train doors.

We would be pleased to look into your correspondent's complaint that the saloon temperature was below 20 degrees if he could provide more information, including the date and approximate time of his journey, by telephoning Yvonne Leung on 26881362.

Ida Leung, senior public affairs manager, Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation