Animal lovers target breeding centers

Local | Joey Hung 21 Apr 2016

Concern groups in Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan will hold simultaneous protests in the three places next week to urge their respective governments to tighten legislation to protect animals.

They are also opposed to an amendment before the Hong Kong legislature concerning the licensing of animal breeding.

The protests will be held a week Saturday at 3pm, with the local one set for Chater Garden, Central.

Mark Mak Chi-ho, convener of the 18 Districts Animal Protection Commissioners, described the situation here as severe.

Mak said they will not support the consultation document of Better Regulating Pet Trading to Enhance Animal Health and Wealth, which will probably go before the Legislative Council next month.

The document mainly focuses on giving licenses to breeding centers but, since there is no limit, everyone can apply. The amendment only applies to dogs.

The groups said there are currently licenses for breeding centers and pet shops, although only seven of the more than 500 private centers in Hong Kong have them. According to the audit report released in March 2010, the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department did not check licenses or documents when visiting shops.

"There are actually laws in Hong Kong protecting animals. However, they are not enforced," Mak said.

He claimed to have seen department staff allow the owner of a breeding center remove animals through a back door.

In addition, the department does not have the manpower to perform checks.

"Even though some think the amendment is better than nothing, we do not want fake regulations," Mak said.

Lawmaker Claudia Mo Man-ching said she will discuss establishing a committee in Legco to investigate the issue.

Mo fears Hong Kong will become a place in which to trade animals.

Legislator Helena Wong Pik-wan said the Democratic Party supports the protest, and encourages the public to take part.

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