Wednesday 3rd June: Toys and politics

The dogs need their daily walk come rain or shine, and today it’s definitely rain.  I hold off until the deluge has eased, but halfway through the walk it starts again, along with the thunder.  I don’t mind getting wet as my skin is quite waterproof, but having recently been electrocuted by lightning while standing in the kitchen opening a can of dog food, I’m aware that I’m a good target.   I’m wearing rubber wellies which should keep me safe, but they’re completely full of water.  The walk is cut short and I get back home as fast as I can. 

I’m not going to the kennels today, and my first stop is a warehouse where we keep stock of donated products.  Everything needs sorting, and with the help of some volunteers we work our way through several boxes of toys and other miscellaneous bit and pieces.  I find the perfect toy for Minky and Sparkle which I hope will keep them occupied.  It’s a fluffy animal with rope legs and (real) cow hoof feet.  Dogs love these, and I throw a few of them in my bag to take home.  I’m always amazed at the stuff that is made for pets.  There must be armies of designers dreaming up new shapes and styles of toys, bowls and (dreadful) clothes.  We find wedding dresses for dogs, and party frocks, and other fancy dress outfits.  Even a bikini!   Eek!

My next, and very important, stop is the Legco Building in Central where I am meeting the Chairman of the Legislative Council Panel, the Hon Fred Li.  This is to discuss the proposed “Additional Conditions of Animal Traders License”, which is due to be heard on 9th June by the Legislative Council Panel on Food Safety and Environmental Hygiene (FSEH).  This was last discussed a year ago when there was general concern about the loophole allowing home, or “hobby”, breeders exemption from any new regulations.  This loophole is still in the apparently updated proposal, and I want to make my objections heard.  As far as I am aware all of the animal welfare organisations feel the same way, and it’s vital that the reasons for the objections are clear and understood.

 Speaking for myself, I can see that this loophole that allows home breeders to be able to continue without any need for licensing will be the open door to illegal and illicit trading, and in particular a route for puppies brought over from the Mainland to find their way into Hong Kong.  I know  that there is only a short time allocated to this subject at Legco and that many FSEH Panel members will be disinterested anyway, as they are really only concerned with health and safety issues.  If nothing else (although there are many reasons for not wanting this loophole to stand), I point out that there is a very big health and safety issue here, and that is the ever-present threat of rabies being brought in via the truckloads of puppies that are smuggled over the border from China.  Hong Kong has been rabies-free for a long time now, and people are complacent about the risks and ignorant about the disease.  If only one puppy or dog is found to be infected with rabies, the response will be devastating.  You only have to look at the panic that engulfed the territory during SARS, or bird flu, and now H1N1.  Those diseases would seem almost pleasant compared to rabies, for which there is no treatment only a terrible and agonising death.  Why is nobody interested in this?  Why do we have to wait for the first case to hit the headlines before taking action?  Every effort must be made to ensure that there are no loopholes for infected puppies or dogs to jump through, and the support and interest of the public is vital if this is to be heard.  So please, get writing, calling, lobbying anyone and everyone.  We need to get the new conditions for the Animals Traders License (ATL) though, but minus the home breeders loophole.

Click here to read the full Legco report.   If you would like to send a submission you can email to Ms Sandy Hau, at shau@legco.gov.hk

 I make my way back home after the meeting carrying a bag of toys for the dogs.  I’m delighted that Minky and Sparkle love their gifts and immediately start chewing on them.  Result!

To help us save more dogs’ lives, click here to make a donation.

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2 Responses to “Wednesday 3rd June: Toys and politics”

  1. tina Says:

    maybe you could post a link with email, addresses, numbers for us to Lobby.

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