• Thu
  • Sep 18, 2014
  • Updated: 2:24am
MTRC
CommentInsight & Opinion
LEADER

Animal welfare tough for MTR

PUBLISHED : Monday, 25 August, 2014, 2:46am
UPDATED : Monday, 25 August, 2014, 8:53am

The MTR Corporation has found itself in the doghouse of public opinion from time to time recently for various reasons, from service disruption to cost overruns and delays on major new projects. That attests to high expectations which, ironically, are based on a reputation well earned over the years for efficient, reliable and safe operations.

Angry commuters may make bad enemies, but they do not compare with the instant infamy that had the MTR on the back foot on Friday.

We are, of course, talking about the death of a stray dog on the tracks at Fanling station after train services on the East Rail line were halted and then resumed before the canine could be saved.

By the time the MTR gave its side of the story on Friday, more than 80,000 had signed an online petition expressing anger and dismay. They were prompted by accounts of an attempt to rescue the dog by lowering a chair onto the tracks at Sheung Shui station before it ran down the line to Fanling and MTR control centre said services had to resume.

Admittedly the MTR is under enormous pressure to keep trains running on time. And it is easy to be wise after the event, although the rescue attempt with a chair tests credulity.

A more detailed account of events shows the operator in better light. Station staff jumped down onto the tracks in a bid to rescue the dog, but one was bitten. Station staff at Fanling signalled an incoming train to stop after spotting the dog. After a fruitless search the train was allowed to depart, and shortly after the dog was found dead on the track.

There is no question that the MTR would also have been criticised if it had halted services for half an hour or more while the dog was rescued. But a show of greater compassion and flexibility would have been good public relations.

The rail operator must learn from public outrage about this incident. It is therefore good to see it will seek advice from animal welfare organisations in devising measures that strike a humane balance between protecting animals and maintaining services.

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jayb
crazy hong kong people.
do you realize everyday at any international airports around the world, trained marksmen (may be women) are tasked to shoot down any strayed bird which may interfere with passenger jets landing/taking off? not just HKG but SFO, JFK, ORD, DFW.... all over the world.
so the airports should suspend air traffic to sweet talk the birds to leave the sky and "save lives"? this is preposterous.
let the train run on time and everybody just chill, grab a beer and share a pot of "fragrant meat".... -:)
mercedes2233
Birds and planes are different from a dog and a train and dumb staff. The birds were required to be killed as they endangered air travel, but the dog wasn't hurting anybody and would have been saved if not for the MTR staff who have never seen a dog before.
53f95b05-11e4-4ded-9939-08db0a3209ca
Yes, absolutely you are right! i'm agree for your comments! What i saw the the video the dog really need somebody help to get off the railway, but no one will help and the dog looks behave...if i was there, i'm the one to saved and carry bring the dog out. And i'm sure the dog like me coz i'm a pet lover...the dog knows the person loved them. When i heard the news about this dog...i was really feel so sad and cry and i can't sleep whole night and i felt so emotional. The MTR staff they don't care about that poor dog...they are really bad!
Shame on the MTR for the death of this poor dog, and shame on the MTR for its insincere apology.
Last year i rescue the dog in the middle of the road almost hit by the cars, i carry and embraced her, i'm not scared this dog coz she looks behave and i know her every movements. And then last January 26, 2014. i rescue another dog(German) again also located in Sheung Shui. This dog almost killed by her master, one of my friend call me and asked some help to rescue this dog, then after few minutes i call the owner of this German dog and told him...pls. don't do anything to your dog especially she's too young and i'm willing to have your dog even i've got a lots of cats in my home, then after this we meet in Sheung Shui KCR station. When i saw the dog, suddenly she embraced me and she looks very friendly..then i call the taxi and we come in my place in Tuen Mun. And now she's happy together with my pet cats inside my small flat.
claudiakung
'There is no question that the MTR would also have been criticised if it had halted services for half an hour or more while the dog was rescued." Definitely not!
"But a show of greater compassion and flexibility would have been good public relations.'
To save a life for good public relations? This is an outrageous attitude! Does it mean it's OK to kill the dog if no one knows?
I simply don't understand why instructions are needed at all unless it means the staff should be provided with hotline numbers to call for help but not instructions as to whether to halt the service. It's just common sense. We are not talking about whether to jump into the sea to save a life when we don't know how to swim!
mercedes2233
If MTR staff are scared of dogs, they could just phone SPCA.
rem.meyerrochow
What? MTR would have been criticized for delaying a train schedule for saving a life??? What a nonsense statement. Whether a dog, child, or elderly person fell onto the tracks, (and regardless of what race that person is) the value of life takes precedent over train schedules. Particularly those more vulnerable in society such as our children and the dogs in our community should be protected, and not abused or ignored for the convenience of those more powerful.
Shame on the MTR for the death of this poor dog, and shame on the MTR for its insincere apology.
Byebye
So, if the train service was delayed to save a life (life means all life regardlessly - animals or human beings), couldn't the Hong Kong train users waited? Where is humanity? Have we lost it all in the name of efficiency and productivity?
Byebye
So, if the train service was delayed to save a life (life means all life regardlessly - animals or human beings), couldn't the Hong Kong train users waited? Where is humanity? Have we lost it all in the name of efficiency and productivity?
Dai Muff
I am sorry but the video and photographs of this event strongly suggest that if there had been no station staff there to THWART rescue attempts, this dog would be alive. There is no "better light". Just PR "spin".
johnyuan
The hindsight benefit of this incident if meant to assure avoidance in all future mistakes would be too much of a asking if the quality of intelligence of the MTRC remains the same.
.
That intelligence shows abundantly lacking at MTRC lately that has had prompted public’s outcry of its performance which includes falling of electric cable over running track, delaying in reporting on schedule change on a major rail work and misjudging public’s sentiment over its less cogent treatment of the life of an animal. All came on tightly packed following one after the other in less than six months or so.
.
MTRC with its core business in running MTR interfaces with a great segment of the public who depends on its service as an integral part of living in this city. That responsibility and hence the required ability to interact with the public is no less a demand on a politician. And a good politician knows how to make necessarily balance between difficult demands.
.
A change of blood at MTRC seems to me urgently is needed. This is the biggest important lesson should be drawn from its last ill judged action. More rules and policy changes will hardly help for the unforeseeables.
 
 
 
 
 

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