The Hong Kong government has refused to meet an animal’s rights group, while killing two more wild boars on Tuesday night in North Point. Last month, the city announced it would drop the trap, neuter, return (TNR) policy under which wild pigs were captured and returned to wild areas.

The Hong Kong Wild Boar Concern Group said on Facebook on Tuesday that the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) had refused their request for a meeting. The department said they had “fully considered” the opinion of Wildlife Management Advisory Group members and citizens and made the decision to humanely put down wild pigs.

Government officers carrying the bodies of two wild pigs following a “catch-and-kill” operation in North Point on November 30, 2021. Photo: Stand News, via video screenshot.

Roni Wong, spokesperson of the concern group told HKFP on Wednesday that the group received a “very long letter” from the department, but he thought AFCD’s reasoning was “dubious.”

“You all – and the media – know that a lot of the members actually object to the killing of the wild pigs, or some of the members also have a neutral stance…” said Wong. “But the government put their decision onto the advisory group members, claiming that these members, in principle, agree to the killing of wild pigs…”

According to Stand News, five out of nine members of the advisory group, including Fiona Woodhouse, deputy director (welfare) of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), either urged the department to change their policy, expressed reservations, or did not have a clear stance on the reversal of the TNR policy.

‘Uncivilised’

The AFCD conducted another “catch-and-kill operation” at Pak Fuk Road, North Point on Tuesday night. The department captured and put down two wild pigs.

According to a spokesperson from the AFCD, “many wild pigs are accustomed to wandering and gathering in the area, including [at] a nearby residential estate and playground.”

Hong Kong Wild Boar Concern Group holding a press conference on Monday urging the government to reverse its “catch-and-kill” policy. Photo: The Hong Kong Wild Boar Concern Group, via video screenshot.

“Some wild pigs have even strayed into a school in the vicinity and looked for food from passers-by, posing potential threats to users of the Pak Fuk Road Playground such as children and nearby members of the public,” the spokesperson said in a press statement published on Tuesday.

Wong said that a member of the concern group was at the scene, and was stopped from getting closer and watching the scene of the operation.

“Whether the capture process involved excessive force, or whether the pigs suffered for a longer period, or even if there is any inappropriate situations, there was no way for us to know,” said Wong.

“Fundamentally, this operation, an operation that does not listen to citizens’ opinion, and insisting on the use of the method of killing to deal with wild pigs – we object to it and it’s uncivilised.”

“The root cause of the issue is that the government did not provide more resources for conservation and the NTR plan, or to change the designs of rubbish bins, and most importantly, to teach people not to feed wild pigs,” said Wong.

“These are the main reasons leading to the government pushing all responsibilities onto the animals, costing their lives.”

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Candice Chau

Candice is a reporter at Hong Kong Free Press. She previously worked as a researcher at a local think tank. She has a BSocSc in Politics and International Relations from the University of Manchester and a MSc in International Political Economy from London School of Economics.