Demanding humane treatment of animals throughout Hong Kong requires a proactive multi-pronged approach. The Inspectors not only ensure that the minimum standards set by the animal cruelty law are enforced, but strive to raise the welfare threshold with every inspection. Considering each interaction with the public as an opportunity to educate and inform, the inspectors seek to inspire a more enlightened view of how domestic, wild and market animals are treated.
Armed with updated lists of Hong Kong pet shops, the Inspectors carry out scheduled visits to ensure that minimum welfare standards are in force. Shops which adhere to these requirements can expect two visits a year but those in violation will repeatedly see the Inspectors until they do.
Sub-standard retailers will receive advice, warnings or may even face prosecution.
Market animals have long been viewed as nothing more than food so their comfort and wellbeing was not considered important. However, regular and rigorous inspections have forced a fundamental shift in this mindset. Not only are the animals more disease free now than in the past, but they also must be afforded basics such as clean water, food, and ample space to turn around. Additionally, the slaughtering methods of livestock must be humane and under the least stressful conditions possible.
While great strides have been made in this area, the Inspectorate continues to lobby for better standards.
The concept of 'shelter' varies from a few stray animals in a flat to larger enterprises housing hundreds of pets. While most shelters develop out of someone trying to help unwanted pets, they often grow into unmanageable situations. This type of environment is often not healthy for the animals, problematic for overseers, and difficult for the neighbours. What may begin as a kind gesture can lead to unintended suffering and hardship for every being involved.
While the SPCA strongly advises against starting an animal shelter, it is recognised that many exist throughout Hong Kong. The Inspectors visit these sites to ensure they meet minimum standards of humane care. While some assistance may be afforded to well-functioning shelters, violators of the law will be punished.