The Legislative Council Panel on Food Safety and Environmental Hygiene passed a motion on Tuesday afternoon calling for the setting up of a committee for animal rights in an effort to tackle the issue of animal abuse.

The motion was raised by Civic Party member Claudia Mo and was approved unanimously. Councillors from different parties voiced their support, saying that the public have been growing more aware of animal rights issues in recent years and that they hoped the committee would be set up as soon as possible.

Ann Chiang Lai-wan of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong also suggested having a letter of undertaking for pets, so as to reduce the number of animals that are abandoned, Commercial Radio reported.

dogs rights gathering
Hongkongers gather to demand the allowing of dogs in public housing estates in September. Photo: Dog Rights Concern Group via Facebook.

“I was just trying my luck when I raised the motion,” Claudia Mo told HKFP. “I didn’t think that the Beijing loyalists would be a big fan of animal rights, so it was a pleasant surprise. There was complete consensus – everyone who was present at the meeting voted in support of the motion. I was overjoyed.”

Mo said the focus of the committee would likely first be the issue of animal abuse and the setting up of an animal police squad in Hong Kong.

Claudia Mo.
Claudia Mo. File photo: HKFP.

Mark Mak, Executive Chairman and founder of the non-profit Veterinary Services Society welcomed the move on Facebook, saying that it meant issues such as animal food safety and regulation of private animal breeding will be addressed in the Legislative Council. “We will be able to gradually bring the voices of animals into the discussion halls.”

“Thank you to Claudia and thank you to every Legislative Councillor who supported the motion! Thank you for all the hard work everyone has put in, please continue to stand on the side of animals!”

Despite the passing of the motion, Mo said that it will only be known around January next year whether the committee would become a reality, as the existing committees would first have to disband due to the limit on the number of subcommittees that can be formed under the panel.

Animal abuse remains a common problem in Hong Kong. Last month, a small cat whose belly was wrapped in duct tape was found in an abandoned cage in Sheung Shui. This year, a man who raised over hundreds of animals in a small flat was sentenced to three months in jail.

Karen cheung hong kong

Karen is a journalist and writer covering politics and legal affairs in Hong Kong for HKFP. She has also written features on human rights, public space, regional legal developments, social and grassroots activism, and arts & culture. She is a BA and LLB graduate from the University of Hong Kong.