Hong Kong Free Press
26 December 2015
In 2013, hundreds of mistreated animals were found trapped in an 800 square foot Tai Kok Tsui flat filled with their urine and faeces. Mysterious dog poisonings along Bowen Road have baffled pet owners for over two decades. Hundreds of animals are tortured to death every year in Hong Kong and stray animals are routinely put down by the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department. Just last month a small cat was found abandoned in a cage in Sheung Shui, with duct tape tightly wrapped round its belly.
For a city that is quick to condemn instances of human rights abuse, the tolerance and indifference towards animal rights abuse in Hong Kong is alarming. For years, campaigners have decried the sorry state of animal rights in the city, but progress has been slow on all fronts. The majority of animal abuse cases in Hong Kong are unnoticed or, worse, ignored. Even when the cases are brought to court, the results are often disappointing. From the moment the case is reported to its final resolution in the courtroom, the current system is riddled with hurdles and hindrances.
Let us begin by looking at the law. In Hong Kong, animals are currently protected under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Ordinance. Amanda Whitfort, Associate Professor at the University of Hong Kong Faculty of Law, told HKFP that the problem with the law is that there is no minimum standard of care required for animals. “Hong Kong’s Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Ordinance was enacted in 1935 and has not been significantly updated since. It only punishes people who cause ‘unnecessary suffering’ to animals, and that requires overt cruelty.”
“If you just keep a dog on a roof without companionship, or in a flat with no exercise, under the current law the police are unlikely to prosecute as there is no actual evidence the dog has suffered. Even if it is deprived of water, the courts have sometimes still found no evidence of animal abuse as suffering must be proved beyond all reasonable doubt, so the court would need evidence the dog was not only dehydrated but had actually suffered."... Click here to read the full article.