Heavier penalty for animal cruelty mulled

Local | Cindy Wan 24 Jan 2019

The public will be consulted in the second quarter about legal amendments to enhance the protection of animal rights, Secretary for Food and Health Sophia Chan Siu-chee says.

The Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department is holding discussions with various stakeholders over raising the maximum penalty for animal cruelty, Chan told the Legislative Council.

The government is also proposing to introduce the concept of "positive duty of care" for animal owners, requiring them to take necessary measures to protect the welfare of their animals, she added.

This means the proposed laws would require owners to provide their animals with proper care and sufficient space, and help prevent them from developing diseases.

There will also be other measures owners have to abide by in order to ensure the rights and welfare of their animals.

The department is collecting opinions on the matter, and drafting consultation papers, which will be ready for the public in the second quarter, Chan said.

Meanwhile, a trial scheme - "Inclusive Park for Pets" - was launched, revolving around owners and their pets being able to access the entire open area of six selected parks in the city this month.

The parks are Victoria Peak Garden, Tong Yam Street Hillside Sitting-out Area in Shek Kip Mei, Kai Tak Runway Park, Shing Mun River Promenade Garden No 3 in Sha Tin, Wang Yip Street South Rest Garden in Yuen Long, and Tai Wo Hau Road Playground in Kwai Tsing.

The government will review the scheme next year to explore the feasibility of expanding it to include more parks, Chan said.

Meanwhile, lawmakers voiced concerns about the wild boar problem, with Jeffrey Lam Kin-fung suggesting a preservation zone.

cindy.wan@singtaonewscorp.com

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