Mainlanders who cooked cat to feed dog fined and told to embrace Hong Kong’s respect for animal rights

Cat thought to have been dead, of a cold, while cooked

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 29 November, 2016, 2:09pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 29 November, 2016, 10:58pm

A mainland-born woman and a relative who cooked a cat to feed to their dog were fined HK$1,000 each on Tuesday, with a magistrate telling them to honour Hong Kong’s spirit of animal rights if they intended to live in the city.

Defence lawyer Yeung Shak-nung said his client, Shu Xingqiao, 37, had not wanted to waste the animal when she found it had suddenly died of cold in January.

Tuen Mun Court heard the ­Sichuan-born woman torched the cat with a cassette LPG gun outside her village house in Pat Heung, northwest New Territories. Her relative, Tang Xunguang, 53, skinned the animal.

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There were no other carcasses at the scene, but a pot of boiling water was found nearby.

“They thought they shouldn’t waste an edible animal,” Yeung said. “This situation is common where [Shu] grew up.”

Tang added in his mitigation that he had not been aware of the relevant laws in Hong Kong.

Magistrate Kelly Shui said the pair’s conduct was unacceptable as it went against the spirit of Hong Kong, which respects ­animal rights.

“This is perhaps the difference between Hong Kong and the mainland,” Shui said.

“We still respect our cats and dogs. Animals in Hong Kong are protected ... They are friends of humans.”

She urged the duo to understand the difference in values ­between Hong Kong and the mainland, where even endangered animals are treated as food.

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“If you want to come and live in Hong Kong, please treat this as your lesson,” she continued. “To eat all you think is edible, I’m sorry, the law doesn’t allow it.”

Both had pleaded guilty to using the flesh of a cat for food.

Under the Dogs and Cats Ordinance, that offence carries a maximum penalty of a HK$5,000 fine and six months in prison.

The true cause of the cat’s death remains uncertain.

Police officers found a lot of the animal’s skin had been removed, revealing multiple burns.

Russell Graydon, the government vet who did the autopsy, said there were no major signs of trauma or bodily changes that would have suggested the cat had been alive during the cooking.

Animal carcasses in Hong Kong are mainly disposed of at designated landfills managed by the Environmental Protection Department, while a small number are cremated. Pet owners are advised to pack the remains in a plastic bag clearly marked with “dead animal” before delivery to refuse stations.