Roast pig-cutting ceremony at Hong Kong City University’s new vet clinic draws ire from activists who say it has killed animals before curing any
- Senior management asks all departments to consider cancelling such ceremonies and other rites at future celebrations
- New Veterinary Medical Centre cut up and served two roast pigs and later posted pictures of event online, sparking immediate outcry
A university in Hong Kong has urged all departments to stop traditional roast pig-cutting ceremonies at special events after criticism its new vet centre killed animals before it had treated any.
The move by City University followed an incident that an outspoken animal welfare activist called a public relations blunder.
The university’s new Veterinary Medical Centre in Sham Shui Po cut up and served two roast pigs at an opening ceremony on March 27. The event was then posted on CityU’s Facebook page, immediately drawing criticism from internet users, with some saying the centre had killed the pigs before curing other animals.
In a press release on Thursday, the university said the ceremony was held because it was “regarded as a traditional ritual in Hong Kong when a new building has been completed”.
The organising committee made the arrangements as a gesture of blessing, it said, adding that some members of the senior management team had expressed concerns before the roast pig cutting took place.
After considering environmental protection and the concerns of different sections of the community, senior management had asked all departments to consider cancelling such ceremonies and other outdated rites at future celebrations.
CityU linked the act to its previous removal of shark’s fin soup from banquets.
Animal rights activist Ho Loy welcomed the move and praised the university for its “good decision”.
But she added she was shocked the university’s public relations team had made such a careless and unthoughtful mistake in the first place.
“The centre was set up to provide care and treatment to animals,” she said. “How is it possible you give out a message that you don’t care about killing and eating a pig?”
She praised the decision to shelve the ritual, saying tradition might not always be right and should be dropped if civilised society reached the right moment.
David Wong Kai-yan, chief officer of Animal Earth, also applauded the move.
“This is an example of how culture will change over time. It is big progress. If a large organisation like this has started doing this, other smaller organisations might follow.”
The new three-storey vet centre, with a floor area of about 32,000 sq ft, is claimed to be one of the largest in the region.