Hong Kong Spotlight – Loopholes of Current Animal Welfare Legislation

World Dog Alliance (WDA) is dedicated to improving the animal welfare laws in Hong Kong that are underdeveloped and full of loopholes. What are the problems then?

Indeed, a holistic Animal Welfare Act has long been absent in Hong Kong. The term animal protection appears in 9 different ordinances, i.e. Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Ordinance, Public Health (Animals and Birds) Ordinance, Dogs and Cats Ordinance, Pounds Ordinance, Wild Animals Protection Ordinance, Rabies Ordinance, Public Health and Municipal Services Ordinance, Marine Fish Culture Ordinance, and Animals (Control of Experiments) Ordinance.

Animal welfare laws in Hong Kong are disorganized and too lenient to offenders. Take animal abuse as an example, the heaviest punishment is only three-year imprisonment according to Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Ordinance. When the courts handle such cases, animal abusers usually receive imprisonments in months. The statute of limitations is 6 months as animal cruelty is a summary offence. This explains why animal abusers can easily walk free in Hong Kong. The inefficient implementation and light punishment have failed to tackle down animal cruelty in Hong Kong.

In April 2019, the Hong Kong Government started a public consultation on the amendments to Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Ordinance. It is suggested to increase the maximum punishment to an imprisonment of 10 years and introduce duty of care to Hong Kong. Some experts call for a holistic Animal Welfare Act and classify animal cruelty as an indicatable crime.

WDA will continue to improve the animal welfare standards in Hong Kong and give animals a friendly environment.