The animal welfare community will welcome the appointment of the new secretary for food and health in the hope that he will ensure much less government cruelty and killing.
Dr Ko Wing-man has shown, as a director of Hong Kong Red Cross and earthquake-relief worker, that he is sensitive to those who are suffering. We trust this empathy extends to the animals we share the city with.
The Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department has slaughtered several thousand dogs in the past 10 years.
This cruelty and killing is shameful and is deplored by most of the public. The power to change the policies this department carries out lies with the Food and Health Bureau now headed by Dr Ko.
For more than 20 years, the animal welfare community, led by the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Animals Asia Foundation, No Kill City Forum, STOP and many dog-rescue charities, has campaigned for new animal-friendly policies.
People across Hong Kong rescue abandoned and feral abandoned puppies and adult dogs daily.
They find new litters of puppies every few hundred yards on country roads.
Pathetic little bodies are seen in ditches where they have fallen, starved and died. Some are seen in catchments in the water, drowning.
The caring feed the survivors with a feeling of hopelessness. There are far too many for them to help.
Poor families go out with bread rolls to give to the dogs because they cannot afford better food. And the government carries on with the cruelty and killing.
Agriculture, fisheries and conservation officers get around in barred vans with nets, nooses and traps.
They catch shrieking animals, cart them to cages in so-called animal management centres and after a few days of terror vets who hate their work inject the dogs so they die.
It doesn't need to be like this. The government spends millions on this slaughter and the money could be spent on trap, neuter, release. Already done for cats, the TNR policy should be extended to dogs.
Animal campaigners have pleaded for this for decades, visiting the Food and Health Bureau and the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department, promoting the message through the media, and through talking to political parties and district councils. But still the government cruelty and killing goes on.
Jethro Roger Medcalf, Sai Kung