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  • Dec 19, 2014
  • Updated: 8:42am
CommentInsight & Opinion

Anti-cruelty law needs an update

PUBLISHED : Monday, 19 November, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 19 November, 2012, 3:24am

If a law has remained largely unchanged since 1935 you would think it is either a colonial relic that no longer matters or an uncommonly good law that has stood the test of three generations. Sadly, neither is the case with animal welfare laws and regulations. We have more pets than ever, but laws meant to protect them from inhumane treatment are outdated, enforcement is poor and penalties for infringement unlikely to deter offenders.

Tens of thousands of abandoned animals are put to death each year, pet shops get away with practices outlawed elsewhere and there are no restrictions on who can take up breeding. Pets are bred and traded like commodities and discarded like fashion items.

An unlicensed breeder or pet shop can expect a fine of no more than HK$2,000 if caught and animal cruelty attracts little more than a rap on the knuckles. For example, an unlawful breeder who kept 140 animals in pitiful conditions, leaving some diseased or crippled, was fined HK$5,000 and sentenced to 150 hours of community service. What would be considered bad enough to warrant the maximum of a HK$200,000 fine and three years' jail does not bear thinking about.

Demand will always attract unscrupulous suppliers. Thankfully, after a public consultation that ends this month, the government is expected to table changes to the law raising the penalty for unlicensed trading to HK$100,000 and for licence breaches from HK$1,000 to HK$50,000. It should also consider Civic Party lawmaker Claudia Mo Man-ching's suggestion of more specific animal protection measures, such as limits on breeding age and the number of times a dog can be bred, and a ban on breeding species with hereditary illnesses.

She rightly points out that the government's proposals do not prevent a pet-shop operator with a record of inhumane treatment from re-applying for a breeder's licence. Society protects itself by denying positions of trust to people with a record of dishonesty. It should protect dumb animals from people known to treat them cruelly for profit.


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This article is now closed to comments

If a human heart is divided into different parts,each division contains moral,dignity,self-respect,decent thinking,righteousness,love,fairness,mercy and so on so forth,for the people who tortured animals,their hearts must be be very small;only wickedness and evil is stuck in them.Whatever these people say and do,that must be evils.
Finally! Hong Kong laws on animal cruelty and the associated fines have been way to lenient. There will always be the odd "mentally disturbed" person that tortures animals. However, what is more alarming is the commercial breeding of animals under horrible conditions and when an animal can no longer breed they are thrown to the street. Shame! Hong Kong claims to be a "world city" - a world city is more than the current prices of property and the size of ones wallet.
In the 2003 SAR outbreak,investigations revealed the plague might be connected with the slaughtering of wild animals such as pangolin as precious and delicious food,a customary eating
culture of the Chinese.Chinese eats almost any creatures:cats,dogs,poultry,snakes,turtles,fishes,rats,monkeys,cows,pigs.........................,
any creatures live in the sea,under-ground,above the land,on the ground.
2.Animal activists say the way Chinese treats animals reflects the degree of humanity of Chinese.Bears palms are chopped off because these are expensive food,and their bile are extracted alive.It's a really shocking cruelty. Recent cat killing incident is only a tip of the ice-berg.Some Chinese is still cruel and aggressive in character.
3.While we show mercy to defenseless animals,someone in society is the minority which is unequally treated.their situation is no better than them.Think of the poor caused by unfair system,think of the people victimized for some reason,just think of any inequalities of society,I do have a sense of bitterness,just when I think of the situation of the animals.
"Your punishment must be more severe"
The law needs to be a deterrent. People don't kill other people or injure them because the penalties are harsh. Animals, which have no means of defending themselves, need even better protections than human beings to prevent abuse & cruelty.
It must be done now. Pet shops continue to put small animals in cramped and terrible conditions, kids are beating up cats & dogs and grown adults are using them as target practice with lead pellets. I've personally seen awful conditions in old housing in Shum Shui Po where dogs and cats are literally being bred in a box with **** and urine everywhere.
Hong Kong is a world city, it's time our laws caught up to it.


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