Animal rights activists slam SPCA charity for euthanising 5,000 animals a year

Protesters say charity's report shows its puts down about 5,000 animals every year

PUBLISHED : Monday, 25 November, 2013, 4:54am
UPDATED : Monday, 25 November, 2013, 10:45am

The city's leading animal welfare charity yesterday found itself the target of a protest by animal welfare activists. They accuse it of making rash decisions on euthanasia and refusing to consider the views of animal rights groups.

About 20 activists protested yesterday outside the Wan Chai headquarters of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, accusing it of abandoning its mission and spending too much on its own organisation, rather than welfare.

"The SPCA should try harder to save animals under its care, such as appealing to animal lovers through social media, before taking that final step to conduct euthanasia," said Aden Wong Chi-shun, a protest organiser.

Citing the SPCA's annual report, the protesters say about half the 10,000 abandoned animals the SPCA receives each year are put to sleep. They said its criteria for euthanasia should be made public.

"The SPCA has turned its back on its mission, which is to promote kindness to animals," Wong said.

Fellow protester David Wong Kai-yan said activists could, in the long run, seek election to the SPCA's committee in the hope of getting a bigger say.

"The way they treat abandoned animals has remained unchanged over the past 30 years," he said. "To the SPCA, euthanasia is a better option than letting the animals wander the streets."

The SPCA said its executive director had agreed before the protest to meet the activists. That meeting would take place soon.

A decision on whether to put an animal to sleep would depend on several factors, said Michael Wong Ho-ming, the charity's director of community development. They included the pain the creature was in, its chances of recovery and whether it could pose a threat to the public.

He invited the protesters to join the organisation as volunteers, to learn how it handles abandoned animals.