Wild Boars have become a serious problem in Hong Kong. With the increasing number of wild boars moving to the city, citizens are experiencing more and more disturbance and danger. Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) announced a new policy to capture and euthanise wild boars regularly, right after a police officer was severely injured by one on 9th November.
The new policy has sparked outrage among animal welfare groups. Petitions were launched to criticise AFCD being inhumane, and to call for a withdrawal of the policy. The department responded on 15th November that it was not their intention to eliminate wild boars. AFCD used to adopt the TNR policy but citizens received more and more disturbance from wild boars, prompting a much needed change. AFCD stressed that the new policy only applies to wild boars in the cities. They pledged to continue protecting wild boars at country parks.
However, a video on 17th November showed that AFCD intentionally lured wild boars to the city using bread as bait. 7 wild pigs were killed. The incident led to another outrage among animal lovers. Animal welfare organizations such as the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) condemned the culling of AFCD.
The World Dog Alliance believes that euthanasia can only be adopted for animals with incurable diseases to put out of their pain. The AFCD’s action is no different from “execution”. The incident reflects that AFCD is “saying one thing but doing another” and the public has lost their trust in the department. More importantly, the crux of the problem is not the wild boars, but the people who feed them indiscriminately. In fact, there are laws against feeding wild animals in Hong Kong, but they are not strictly enforced and the number of prosecutions is incredibly low. Even if someone is prosecuted, the judge would only impose a fine, and over time, the public will take the offence lightly. The monkey infestation in some areas of Hong Kong is also due to the reckless feeding of wild animals by humans. Therefore, the World Dog Alliance believes that the solution is to strictly enforce the law and to raise the penalty for feeding wild animals, so as to increase the deterrent effect by “imprisonment-style punishment”.
The World Dog Alliance has always opposed the idea of letting animals suffer the consequences of human mistakes, and hopes that AFCD will consider better solutions as a remedy. In the long run, in order to build a society where humans and animals can coexist in harmony, we must learn to live with wild animals.