Hong Kong authorities have raided a shop in Yau Ma Tei and seized suspected dog and cat meat that was being sold for food.

dogs canines
Dogs. File photo: Marc Veraart via flickr.

In a Thursday night statement, the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) said it had conducted a blitz operation with the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) after receiving reports the shop was selling dog and cat meat as food.

AFCD said it had seized the suspected dog or cat meat from the shop and arranged for it to be tested. “Prosecution will be instituted should it be proven,” an AFCD spokesperson said.

The statement added that the FEHD also collected evidence from the shop to probe if it was operating without a license.

Eating dogs and cats has been outlawed in Hong Kong since 1950. Under the Dogs and Cats Regulations, anyone who sells or uses dog or cat meat for food could face a maximum penalty of six months in jail and a HK$5,000 fine.

HK$100 a catty

An HK01 report published on Thursday revealed that the shop, which is located on Reclamation Street in Yau Ma Tei, labelled some frozen food items as “M meat” and “G meat,” both of which were sold at HK$100 a catty.

A catty is a measurement traditionally used for food that is equivalent to about 600 grams. The price of the suspected cat and dog meat was close to frozen cooked beef sold at supermarkets.

When asked by reporters posing as customers what the products were, a person who worked at the shop said “M meat” was cat and “G meat” was dog.

The shop worker said that the meat was cooked and frozen in mainland China before being shipped to Hong Kong, adding that the shop had been investigated by the FEHD before, but the department had not found anything illicit.

Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department
Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department logo. File photo: Tom Grundy/HKFP.

The reporters bought both “M meat” and “G meat,” which were submitted to a laboratory for testing. HK01 reported that both samples contained either genetic material from either cats or dogs.

After the report was published, lawmaker Gary Chan, the vice-chairperson of pro-Beijing party DAB, wrote to the Environment and Ecology Bureau and urged the authorities to step up law enforcement.

“Hong Kong has outlawed the eating of cats’ or dogs’ meat for over 70 years, but a shop was found publicly selling cat or dog meat and disregarding the law. It is indeed intolerable in a civilised society,” the legislator said.

Chan added that the incident also showed that the frequency and thoroughness of inspections by law enforcement authorities were not enough.

The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said on Friday morning that it “strongly condemns” the shop suspected of selling dog and cat meat for food. It also told the public to immediately contact the police and the AFCD if they spotted similar cases.

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Peter Lee is a reporter for HKFP. He was previously a freelance journalist at Initium, covering political and court news. He holds a Global Communication bachelor degree from CUHK.