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  • Dec 20, 2014
  • Updated: 8:20am
CommentInsight & Opinion
LEADER

Hong Kong needs stiffer sentences for animal cruelty

PUBLISHED : Monday, 12 August, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 12 August, 2013, 3:13am

The importance of animal rights and welfare is often seen as a yardstick of how civilised a society is. Despite an increase in public awareness over the years, Hong Kong still lags behind many advanced countries on this front. Those who treat animals as equal to humans are still in the minority.

Animal welfare groups were understandably outraged after a man who abused an 18-month-old stray cat to death in a Tsuen Wan park was only sentenced to three months jail early this month. In response, the Department of Justice rightly decided to appeal against what the groups called a "disgracefully lenient" sentence.

Separately, a foreigner living in Ma On Shan was acquitted of animal abuse last week. Although the man had fired shots with an air gun in response to barking from a neighbour's dogs, the court ruled that there was insufficient evidence to prove that the dogs' injuries were made by the shots. But the magistrate rejected claims that he was only trying to tame them.

The way in which the cat was killed was hideous. The 48-year-old construction worker, apparently under the influence of alcohol, tied a nylon string around the cat's neck, dragged it around and beat it with a stick until it died.

In sentencing, the magistrate said the act was serious and saw no reason to reduce the jail term. But the three-month imprisonment does not go far enough, as the Prevention of Cruelty to Animal Ordinance carries a maximum three years in jail and a HK$200,000 fine.

The law was revised in 2006 to reflect growing animal rights awareness and changing public expectations. However, sentences are not as tough as they should be. The cruelty law only mentions acts causing "sufferings", but does not differentiate abuses leading to death. True, a jail term is a step forward compared with previous non-custodial sentences, but it still falls short of expectations. A lenient sentence will send the wrong message that animal abuse is nothing serious in our society. Public education should also be strengthened.

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This article is now closed to comments

honkiepanky
Whymak we already knew about your paranoid hostility towards everything Western, but what do you have against kittens?
impala
[(...) tied a nylon string around the cat's neck, dragged it around and beat it with a stick until it died.]

This is a Chinese cultural preference comrade whymak? Finding this not ok, is Western cultural imperialism, is that what we should take home from your frothing?
wwong888
i wish your owner would put your muzzle back on you... no one wants to hear your drivel... you irrelevant sack of sh-t...
tranquilben
yardstick? leave HK you piece of sh_t.
whymak
If you're gung ho about animal rights, stop eating beef, pork and fish.
I like dogs, so I won't eat them. But stop hoisting Western animal rights over other cultural preferences. If Koreans and Chinese eat dogs or Japanese hunt whales for food, it's their business.
Hindus don't eat what we eat, they consider meat eating as uncivilized. Fine, as long as they don't interfere with me munching on fat/cholesterol laden, unhealthy but delectable rack of lamb.
This eating freedom is even more important for many than Hong Kong school teachers' right to shout 乜你老母 in public.
Have you ever thought of quitting eating altogether? Plant proteins consist same 20 amino acids. Plants have similar double helix DNA and exactly the same 4 bases hanging off its sugar phosphate backbone. Plants and animals all descended from the same eukaryotic cell. Every time you eat, many cells in your body works overtime. The food is converted into energy via hydrolysis of ATP, with the production of poisonous oxidants which damage your genes. Cumulative mutations are the direct and indirect causes of cancer. BTW, cancer can’t grow without oxygen, so you should stop breathing as well.
I have given you and Hong Kong Democracy cultists many ideas to rationalize their superstition and ideology. So I better conclude this rant while I am still ahead.
Asians should propose plant rights or different animal rights.
If I had my druthers, I would invent GM colored cotton and have white folks grow them.
daniel18
The sentence is apparently not sufficient to reflect the seriousness of the animal abuse cases. The sentence should instill the notion to the public that even you disrepect and dislike animals, do not kill it. However, in this sentence, it is not strong enough to deter offenders to commit such crimes! We already have enough education with regard to showing respect to animals life. How many more of this case happen will the judge give it a heaviler penalties to the cruel offenders? Moreover, given that the sentence is not heavy enough, it is quite likely that the offenders with such criminal record will commit such crimes again.
whymak
wwong888:
It's still all about your superstitious beliefs in Western universal values but not your foul language this time. Like I said, there is plenty we can learn from the great Western civilization just mentioned. Unfortunately, you have to wait for the next life when you might be reincarnated into something or whatever being, say a retriever, which has a higher intelligence level than your present.
whymak
honkiepanky, jve, wong888:
Ha! Ha! Got you. It takes only statement of a few facts to demonstrate why Democracy cultists are such sickos.
Your fixated obsessive compulsion and ignorance blind you to multiple facets in every issue. Except for cultist faith in Democracy, which you cannot define without contradiction, and hatred for Chinese culture, you have no joys in life or tolerance of facts. Your zero sense of humor is living proof!
As for the teacher's language, other than her entertainment value, it bothers me none at all. I had been in corporate meetings or in social settings with bond traders whose languages are far more colorful. It's her half-baked English and her derangement that make her an unfit teacher and human being.
On second thought, maybe I should take back the last part about her. She apologized, didn't she? That's good enough for me.
But for self-hate bananas and expats living off the fat of our land and hating the Chinese, they are the Pharisees that Jesus talked about. Hopelessly condemned,their sin is against the Holy Ghost - enlightenment. This much I learned from SJC.
Do I hate Western culture when I can't seem to get enough of it? BTW, do you listen to Bach or Mahler? Do you read Russell, Einstein or Burke's Reconciliation with America? I recommend the last one to HK silent majority.
Click on google.com. Don't understand today's doodle containing the best gems of Western civilization, right? Now go back to your opiate: Democracy.
wwong888
actually the topic is animal cruelty. you are truly a piece of work. what are you rambling about? HAVE YOU TAKEN YOUR MEDS TODAY???
whymak
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