Even if your affection for animals is confined to little more than your alimentary canal, you can’t help but mourn the imminent, and shameful, demise of Hong Kong’s not-terribly-feral cow and buffalo herds. History is a bit vague when it comes to exact details, but in the general run of things it’s agreed that they were formerly employed as draught animals, then circa 1970 – when New Territories farmers gave up farming and no longer needed fields ploughed or loads hauled – the animals were let go in the most literal sense of the term. Today they meander about Sai Kung, Lantau and other less urban parts of Hong Kong, to the delight of the Insta brigade and the despair of villagers who view anything that blocks the traffic and gorges on their vegetable plots as rather less than quaint. Said villagers also take exception to what the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department’s website prissily describes as cow/buffalo “excrement” – rather a severe term for something that does not in any way smell foul and makes for darn good fertiliser. Various schemes have been put in place to try and solve the problem, if “problem” is the right term. Rounding up a couple of dozen and transporting them somewhere more remote didn’t go down too well with the animals in question, who hadn’t been consulted on the matter and tended to gravitate back to familiar territory using their inbuilt satnav. Dafter still was a proposal to ship the whole lot – there are no exact figures, but they certainly number in the hundreds – to an outer island , possibly one of the Sokos, where they could be admired by visitors transported there on specially chartered boats. Cynics have suggested this was simply a way to get the animals out of sight and out of mind. So the AFCD has embarked on a wide-ranging sterilisation programme, and we are likely witnessing the last generation of the gentle, photogenic cows and buffaloes, which – as more than one of the passionate volunteers who keep an eye on them has remarked – are not “strays” but part of the natural landscape. Cows in supermarket a sign of shrinking habitats, says concern group Obliterating them for the sake of bureaucratic tidiness is complete and utter folly, another step along the road to turning Hong Kong into an insipid spot on the map with little to distinguish it from its near neighbours. Never mind the (environmentally friendly) poo – we need to accept that BLM, i.e. Buffalo Lives Matter. CLM, too, for that matter.