Stop killing strays and neuter them, animal welfare group says

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 21 August, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 21 August, 2010, 12:00am

Officials in charge of more sensitive areas like political reform and housing supply are used to being at the receiving end of protesters. Now, it seems those in humbler posts responsible for catching and killing stray animals are not immune either. Animal welfare group Stop! calls on supporters today to march in Central against what it says are the inhumane practices of the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department.

The group was responding to an alleged incident last month in which uniformed department workers were videotaped catching two stray dogs as one of the dogs was bleeding profusely. Bystanders told the workers to stop, but the animals were eventually captured and taken to a department kennel.

A public outcry ensured after the clip was put on YouTube.

'This is only one of many incidents in which the AFCD demonstrated inhumane attitudes towards the animals they are supposed to be protecting,' Stop! chair Brooke Babington said.

The group wants the government to institute a 'trap, neuter and release' programme to reduce the populations of stray dogs and cats, but blamed the department for stalling.

'This is due largely to AFCD's inexplicable refusal,' she said.

The department said it had been consulting council members for all 18 districts about such a plan, but only nine district councils so far had come out in support. 'Without a public consensus and support, we can't go forward,' a spokesman said.

So the consultation continues. You know how it is. When the government doesn't want to do anything, it will seek consensus and consultation - endlessly. In fact, we can't even get a straight answer from the department about whether it supports such a programme or not. How is that for dithering?

The Stop! rally will start at 3pm in Chater Garden, Central.