Let stray cats have a home – Zhejiang Province established its first animal welfare special fund

On September 12th, the “Zhejiang Rainbow Sun Foundation – Morelovecat Special Fund” was founded, and various leaders in academia, corporate, and public welfare foundations attended the founding ceremony.

The founding ceremony.

The growing problem of urban stray cats is detrimental to the urban ecosystem and public health. At the same time, the rapid reproduction of stray cats further aggravates the problem. Besides, due to the unsuitable living environment, fear, and lack of food and water, etc., the life span of stray cats is said to be generally shorter than three years. 

As one of the most common stray animals in the city, stray cats have been cared for and rescued by many people. However, the words and actions of extreme supporters or opposers of stray rescue have sparked heated discussion in Chinese society.

In mainland China, because of the current lack of animal protection law, few official organizations have joined in the urban stray cats’ rescue and management. Strays are more likely to be taken in and cared for by non-governmental organizations.

The Morelovecat Special Fund aims to promote an urban stray cat 100% protection program to help stray cats find homes. The Fund’s mission is to protect the strays every step of the way, from their initial wandering stage to their final homes. 

At the end of the founding ceremony, the sponsors of the Special Fund released the “Morelovecat Novice Pack” to support new cat owners. The pack contains essential pet supplies such as seven days of cat food, cat litter, and food and water bowls.

The “Morelovecat Novice Pack”

Next, they will release information about stray cats through online platforms. They will also seek out prospective cat owners and organize free lectures to promote the urban stray cat 100% protection program.

Stray cat on the street of a Chinese city.

It is great to see an increasing number of NGOs in China engaging in stray animal management. Although the effort has become more organized, official support is crucial. There is still a lot of work for China to do, but great news has come. 

On September 25th, the official website of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs of China published the “Response to Recommendation No. 5074 of the Second Session of the 13th National People’s Congress”, in response to the National People’s Congress’ “Suggestion of the Enactment of the Law on the Prohibition of Cruelty to Animals”. The Response states that it is necessary to develop legislation to combat animal cruelty and other acts that are widely opposed by the public.

The Response can be found at http://www.moa.gov.cn/gk/jyta/201909/t20190925_6328971.htm

Hopefully, soon, the animal protection laws can be implemented, and more official funds and efforts could join in stray animal management.

References:

http://baijiahao.baidu.com/

http://industry.caijing.com.cn/

Translated by Huiyuan Qi

Edited by Andrea Jia @ Animal Dialogue

Shenzhen enhances animal management practices including mandatory microchips for all dogs

On June 20th, a Shenzhen citizen reported in an open letter to the city about the death of stray dogs due to poor management at a local dog shelter. The message showed dogs in abominable conditions. The majority of the dogs were sick or starving, and emaciated bodies of dead dogs laid around the facility.

A photo from the open letter exposing terrible conditions at the dog shelter.

That afternoon, the Shenzhen Urban Management and Law Enforcement Bureau made a spot check and demanded the dog shelter to rectify the existing problems immediately. Later, the Bureau held a press conference to report the situation and announced that they are building a new shelter facility up to international standards.

This year, Shenzhen focuses on improving dog management. The new “Trap, Neuter, Adopt” (TNA) Project aims to resolve the stray dog problem in the city. The Urban Management and Law Enforcement Bureau will standardize the management of stray dogs as well as encourage adoptions. For example, the Bureau requires all dogs to receive injections of microchips, which prevents losing pets and holds owners accountable for the dogs’ behavior.

In recent years, due to an increasing number of dog attacks in urban public spaces, Chinese municipal governments have initiated rigorous control of pets and stray dogs.

Last November, the Chengdu Police Department began to seize and dispose of 22 breeds of banned dogs in the city’s dog-restricted area.

Hangzhou government also carried out a governance action plan of pet dog control, prohibiting dog-walking from 7 A.M. to 7 P.M. and imposing fines for unleashed walks and unregistered pet dogs.

A toy poodle receiving an ultrasound exam at the 2019 South China Pet Products Exhibition.

In fact, to regulate pet dog ownership and prevent dog attacks, Chinese cities have implemented dog restrictions for many years.

As early as the 1990s, cities such as Shanghai, Beijing, and Wuhan were the first to introduce dog management measures. After merely a decade, dog management measures have been widely adopted in China. The regulations often put specific restrictions on the time and location of dog walks, the number of dogs owned, as well as the height and breed of the pet dogs. Many dog lovers have voiced their concerns that these regulations are unreasonable and cause unnecessary suffering for certain kinds of dogs. Under such circumstances, whether it is necessary to formulate a unified law across China to regulate pet ownership has become a popular topic for the public.

During the 2018 National People’s Congress and the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, Qian Yefang, standing director of the Chinese Society of Social Law and a professor at the law school of Zhejiang University of Finance and Economics, drew up the “Companion Animal Protection Act”, hoping to promote relevant legislation. Liu Chen, a scholar at the School of Public Administration and Media, Guilin University of Technology, also expressed recently the necessity of legislation concerning pet ownership in the public area to guide pet owners under the law.

All information comes from  http://www.uschinapress.com/ and http://shenzhen.sina.com.cn/

Translated by Vince Wu

Edited by Andrea Jia and Riley Peng @ Animal Dialogue

Shaanxi men sentenced to 10 years in prison for shooting an endangered bird with slingshots

On June 4, one day before World Environment Day, Shaanxi Higher People’s Court published five landmark environmental legal cases on its website. The case in which two men killed a crested ibis with slingshots caught people’s attention. The two defendants were sentenced to 10 years’ and eight years’ prison respectively for illegal hunting and killing of rare and endangered wild animals with aggravating circumstances.

According to the records from China Judgements Online, on June 1, 2016, defendants Hao and Feng shot a sizeable white bird near a river in Yaoyu Village, Yaozhou District, disregarding a passing villager’s warning that the bird is protected by law and he would report their actions to the police. The white bird screamed while running on the grass. After shooting the bird a second time with the slingshot, Feng wrapped the bird with his clothes and took the bird into the car.

On their way back, Feng noticed the bird was wearing a foot ring with code. For fear of being investigated, Feng threw the injured bird into the river. Hao complained that they could have stewed and eaten the bird after hearing that the bird was thrown away.

Later, the white bird was found and taken to the local Wildlife Conservation and Management Station by the workers there. However, the rescue failed, and the bird died. The bird was identified as a crested ibis, a species on the State Protection List. The cause of death was a human attack, which caused severe injuries in the bird’s neck and chest, as well as fractures in its left wing with excessive bleeding.

Flying crested ibis | Source: chinatravel.com

The local People’s Court held the trial of Feng and Hao and ruled that they deliberately shot a crested ibis, which is under the state’s special protection, with a slingshot, and abandoned the injured bird instead of rescuing it, leading to its death. Their action constitutes the crime of illegal hunting and killing of rare and endangered wild animals, and the circumstances of their crimes are severe, according to the court. Feng was convicted of illegal hunting and killing of rare and endangered wild animals and sentenced to 10 years imprisonment, with a 3,000 yuan fine. Hao was convicted of the same crime and sentenced to eight years imprisonment, with a 3,000 yuan fine.

The two defendants filed an appeal against the sentencing. The local People’s Court held a retrial and subsequently rejected the appeal, upholding the original judgment.

According to Shaanxi High People’s Court, the crested ibis is one of the least abundant bird species in the world. It is under special state protection with high ecological, social, and cultural values. The People’s Court’s sentence for the two defendants reflected the principle to prosecute environmental crimes severely, highlighted the independent status of the environmental law, and achieved the deterrence and educational purpose of the law. Such a case would have a profound impact on wildlife conservation and the maintenance of ecological security.

The crested ibis is listed as an endangered species on the IUCN Red list. @Danielinblue

In response to the media release of the case, many netizens commented that the defendants deserve the criminal charges as crested ibis is an endangered species. However, some also questioned the severity of the sentence for shooting one bird.

Related Law:

According to the High People’s Court, killing one crested ibis will be regarded as “especially severe” when determining the severity of cases of illegally catching, killing, purchasing, transporting or selling wild animal species under special state protection.

According to Article 341 of Criminal Law of the People’s Republic of China, if the protected species was rare or near extinction, any person who catches, kills, illegally purchases, transports or sells the species and their products shall be sentenced to fixed-term imprisonment of no more than five years or criminal detention and concurrently be punished with a fine. If the circumstances are severe, the offender shall be sentenced to fixed-term imprisonment of five to ten years with a fine. If the circumstances are especially severe, the offender shall be sentenced to fixed-term imprisonment of not less than ten years and concurrently be sentenced with a fine or confiscation of property.

All information comes from  https://baijiahao.baidu.com/

Translated by LiAn Pan

Edited by Andrea Jia and Riley Peng @ Animal Dialogue

Hong Kong consults the public on proposals to enhance animal welfare legislation, offenders potentially face ten years’ imprisonment

Animal welfare involves the quality of life of an animal and may include aspects such as the animals’ physical health, psychological states, and the ability to express natural behaviors. The topic of animal welfare has become increasingly popular around the globe in recent years.

On April 26th, the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) of Hong Kong announced that they would be consulting the public about several proposals to enhance animal welfare in Hong Kong until July 31th, 2019.

Screenshot of the proposal website heading

The current animal law in Hong Kong is called the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Ordinance (Cap. 169), introduced in 2006. Although the current legislation bans and penalizes cruel acts towards animals, it does not promote or define good animal welfare. Drawing from animal welfare laws from various foreign places such as Macau, Singapore, California, and New Zealand, the AFCD’s strategy to amending this law is threefold.

Firstly, the amendment would introduce a positive “Duty of Care” on persons responsible for animals to enforce the fulfillment of the animals’ welfare needs so that animals could be protected before they are suffering. Should the bill be passed, public officers would be able to issue an “improvement notice” to people not fulfilling the duty of care and set an appropriate penalty.

Secondly, the maximum penalty for animal cruelty offenses would be increased based on public opinion. In the feedback form at the end of the public consultation document, the public could choose from different lengths of imprisonment ranging from four to ten years. The court would also be able to disqualify someone from keeping animals should they be convicted of an animal cruelty offense. The current version of Cap. 169 has a maximum penalty of three years’ imprisonment and a fine of $200,000 Hong Kong Dollars (approx. $25,000 USD).

Thirdly, public officers would be enabled to enter premises and seize animals with the purpose to prevent animal suffering. As some cases may take months to complete, the seized animals would also be released and rehomed under certain circumstances (e.g., the owner surrendered the animal and the court no longer required it for evidence purposes).

The site of a recent suspected animal cruelty case

The director of AFCD, Dr. Leung Siu-Fai, stated in a public event that the AFCD had been actively working with Hong Kong Police Force (HKPF) and the Hong Kong Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA HK) to enforce Cap. 169, and that was the reason why the amendment did not include the establishment of animal police officers. After the amendment bill passes, the AFCD would work on mobilizing personnel to enhance the enforcement of the law.

Dr. Leung Siu-fai

Member of the Legislative Council and an animal advocate, Roy Kwong Chun-yu, stated that he would be initiating large-scale public demonstrations to invite more members of the public to submit their opinions to the AFCD. Kwong also pointed out that though the HKPF set up animal task forces in 22 police districts, there were only a total of 30 enforcers of Cap. 169.

Member of the Legislative Council and an animal advocate, Roy Kwong Chun-yu

If the general public wishes to give comments on the matter, they can download the consultation document from the proposal website below and submit their feedback through email, fax or mail.

Update: On May 19th, Roy Kwong Chun-yu, local celebrities, and animal advocate groups rallied over 6,000 people in a march through the streets of Hong Kong towards the government headquaters. They were wearing red ribbons that represent the blood of the animals that were abused or killed.

All Information comes from:

https://www.pets.gov.hk/

https://bit.ly/2VlHsiz

https://bit.ly/2LV99Lr

https://bit.ly/2Qms0hf

Translated by Dule and Andrea Jia

Edited by Andrea Jia and Riley Peng @ Animal Dialogue

Hong Kong Government will introduce more measures for animal welfare and animal protection

The Hong Kong Government attaches great importance to animal welfare and will introduce more measures for both animal welfare and animal protection, according to Professor Sophia Chan, JP, the Secretary for Food and Health Bureau of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR).

Professor Chan brought her own pet dog to the first Friends, Families & Pooches “Pawty” and “People and Dogs City Directional Charity Tournament” hosted by the Hong Kong Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA(HK)). In her speech at the opening ceremony, Professor Chan said that in addition to letting dog lovers gather together and feel the deep friendship between people and dogs, these activities also have animal-related parent-child workshops to promote the message of treating animals kindly and the human-dog bond.

@SPCA(HK)

She also said that this is in line with the HK Government’s goal of promoting animal welfare and ensuring that people and animals can coexist harmoniously in the community. In 2019, the Hong Kong Police Force is introducing an “Animal Protection Community Ambassador” project, which focuses on the power of animal lovers and different community groups, raises the public awareness of the prevention of cruelty to animals, helps fight brutal animal abuse, and educates the public to be responsible pet owners.

Professor Chan also indicated that the authorities are planning to expand the scope of the animals covered under the Road Traffic Ordinance in respect of traffic accidents involving injured animals, in which the related driver are required to pull over. The HK Government has conducted initial consultations. Some citizens think that the Ordinance covers too few animals and they think that more types of animals such as monkeys should be covered in the Ordinance.

All information comes from www.chinanews.com

Translated by Jiaxuan Han

Edited by Andrea Jia and Riley Peng @ Animal Dialogue