Issue 82 - 2011/02


Issue 82 - 2011/02-04

Contents

  • Happenings       2 - 3
  • Desexing Lantau Buffaloes       4 - 5
  • Behaviour and Training       6 - 8
  • Legacies      9
  • Animal welfare, animal protection and the law      10 - 11
  • Egg laying Hens        12 - 13
  • Plight of Battery Farmed Chickens      14
  • Sealing the Hunt: An Update      15
  • Vet’s Case Book      16
  • Vet Profile      17
  • Vet facts       17
  • HARD MAN SOFT HEART      18
  • SPCA Case files     19 - 21
  • DOG TRUST     22
  • Bucking the trend    23
  • Year of the Rabbit    24 - 25
  • Happy Endings     28
  • SPCA Family Wag‘N’Walk 2011      29

  • click here to download Issue 82 - 2011/02-04

 


(text only version)

  • Happenings                                                                2 – 3

    NO SOUP, NO SUFFERING

    SPCA kicked off the “No Soup No Suffering” sharks fin campaign with a press conference at the XiYinrestaurant. Celebrity chef Jacky Yu joined us in raising the alarm against the cruelty of live finning of sharks. For this festive season where many banquets will be held, Jacky recommends “Seafood Thick Soup with Conpoy” as a conscientious alternative to sharks fin soup. If you wish to support our campaign, please buy and wear SPCA’s “No Soup No Suffering” tee shirt to help spread the word!

     

    ROAD TO RECOVERY

    A village dog with a horrendous, maggot infested neck wound was brought by his carers to the SPCA. Despite being in a terrible condition and needing extensive treatment and hospitalisation his carers were keen to save him. The SPCA helped with the costs on welfare grounds and after several weeks of nursing and care he returned happy and healthy to his village.

     

    ANIMAL WELFARE CAMP

    Once again, SPCA joined hands with the YMCA to host the Second Animal Welfare Camp. Held over the Christmas holidays, the 4-day camp introduced youngsters age 8 to 14 on issues such as animal overpopulation, animal cruelty, shelter and pet shop issues, abandonment and things they can do to change the world for animals. The camp was booked to capacity of 31 children. We are looking to the next camp to be held over the Easter holidays

     

    STOP THE SEAL HUNT

    Once again, the Canadian fur seal hunt looms ahead. Starting around late March, three hundred thousand seals face the prospect of a cruel and painful death. While the European Union has banned fur seal products on the ground of cruelty, this horrendous slaughter is expected to continue thanks to the Canadian government’s aggressive overtures into the Mainland Chinese market. SPCA is working together with Humane Society International to stop the carnage by telling Hong Kong people the truth about the seal hunt. Our advertising and publicity campaigns begins this month to “stop the seal hunt, it’s Hong Kong’s choice!”

     

    MARCH 27 PET WALK

    Its here! The long awaited SPCA pet walk will be taking place on Sunday, March 27 at Pak Tam Chung in Sai Kung. Famed for its natural beauty, the walk will take participants into the High Island Reservoir and back where a carnival awaits them. Funds raised will be used for building a SPCA centre in New Territories so that our Inspectors can respond even faster to animal rescue cases, and where facilities as quarantine, prosecution cases and animals awaiting adoption, can be kept. Please register online for the pet walk at www.spca.org.hk/petwalk2011

     

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  • Desexing Lantau Buffaloes                                        4 – 5

    1. Tranquilize: Dr Cheryl, one of the SPCA’s cattle experts, takes careful aim to ensure her tranquilizer dart hits its target.
    2. Stabilise: Dr Jane Gray, Chief Veterinary Surgeon, gently calms the calf and it quickly dozes off.
    3. Treat: The calf’s head is supported during the desexing operation.

     

    HUMANE SOLUTIONS FOR PEACEFUL CO-EXISTENCE

    Dr Cheryl McMeekan raises the blow pipe to her lips and takes careful aim at the small bull standing three metres away. Expelling a sharp lung-full of air, she sends a dart from the pipe to plant with a “thwack” into the thigh of the bull. It’s a cold January morning and Cheryl is one of a six-person SPCA team that has made the journey to Shek Pik Reservoir on South Lantau Road to conduct cattle desexing work. Also in attendance is a team from the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD), and representatives from the Lantau Buffalo Association (LBA) and Green Lantau.

    The young bull is initially disturbed by the dart and shakes his leg in annoyance, but soon settles back to eating from the grass tufts that sprout from the edges of the concrete path. Ten minutes pass and he begins to look a bit wobbly, settles down in a small clearing in a nearby woodland and succumbs to the sedative. The SPCA and AFCD teams approach slowly, ensuring he is asleep, and cover him in some blankets before starting the surgery.

    The bovines of Lantau, its cattle and buffalo, have been the source of controversy for the last couple of decades. Once an important part of local agriculture, many animals were abandoned as farming became a sunset industry in Hong Kong. These animals, despite the hardships they face, are doing surprisingly well, and basic surveys have indicated a population growth of around 15% year on year.

    The wandering herds generate contrasting opinions in the community; some feel that they are both damaging and a hazard and would rather they were gone, some are indifferent and others feel very strongly that they deserve as much right as we do to share the largest of Hong Kong’s islands. It is this polarization of opinion and concerns for the future of the animals that spawned the LBA in the 1990s. The LBA sets its goals as the preservation, management and promotion of the bovine herds on Lantau, and it has become the official first point of call for any bovine-related issues on the island.

    Today, as Dr Cheryl completes the desexing surgery on the bull and administers the sedative reversal, thoughts of cattle-related controversy are absent from the minds of all participants. All are united in their goal to ensure the highest welfare is maintained during the desexing process, and with a full desexing team present, it is hoped that five or six bulls will be successfully castrated before late afternoon.

    This is the second big day of cattle desexing;4 the first one took place a month earlier on December 7th in Mui Wo, but both days are part of a collaboration between the LBA, the SPCA and the AFCD. The group effort has come about after the LBA contacted the SPCA and requested assistance in a new initiative to manage the Lantau’s herds effectively. The SPCA has a long history of involvement with cattle and buffalo, and it is frequently called by the LBA to attend injured or sick animals. Therefore, a project to improve the welfare of the herds by slowing the expansion of the population and reduce it to more manageable levels was welcomed.

    The SPCA facilitated the development of the initiative into a project, consulting with the AFCD and researching available methods and techniques. In November, it was agreed at a meeting with all parties that desexing of the bulls was the most immediate and feasible solution to population growth. Bull desexing can be done in the field with minimal equipment and this lends itself to the unusual situation of feral bulls, as presented in Lantau. The operation itself is fairly simple and does not take long or cause much disruption.

    Sedatives and painkillers are used to reduce any suffering and antibiotics and flystrike powder used to prevent infection. However, like any operation, it does involve some risk, and occasional anaesthetic and post-operative complications are inevitable. The SPCA is committed to ensuring those risks are minimised and research into better and safer methods is constant. Some young bulls are deliberately left out of the desexing work to ensure that there is still breeding potential in the future, and the herds will be managed as a whole to ensure their long-term survival.

    This morning at Shek Pik the reversal drug works quickly. As the bull wakes and finds his feet, then wanders back through the woodland to his herd, Cheryl and the rest of the SPCA team consider the size of the challenge ahead. With large herds of buffalo at Pui O and significant numbers of cattle in the Tung Fuk area, it is a formidable task. Thankfully, with the strong support from the AFCD, the help of the LBA and the understanding of Lantau’s residents, it does look to be achievable. By conducting this work, the SPCA hopes to make the vision of the LBA, that of bovines and human living more harmoniously, a reality.

     

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  • Behaviour and Training                                              6 – 8

    HOW TO PREVENT YOUR FURRY COMPANION FROM EATING YOUR SOFA, JUMPING ON STRANGERS, AND OTHER UNWANTED BEHAVIOURS

    By Dr. Cynthia Smillie

    Problem behaviours in our beloved pets can often leave us perplexed, angry, highly stressed and even sometimes amused. After all, why would your pampered pooch want to launch himself like a jet-propelled rocket towards every dog on the other side of the street, yanking you off your feet in the process, or your terrier try to dig his way to Australia via your sofa? Why does your Border Collie suddenly start to herd the family up like sheep and nip at your ankles, or why does your cherished cat on whom you lavish attention, not to mention expensive tins of premium cat food, spray urine all over the shopping bags you have left at the front door, or worse still, refuse to use the litter tray in the kitchen, preferring the deep pile carpet in the living room? Expecting your neighbours to put up with your squawking parrot or constantly barking dog is also likely to be a problem and will put a strain on neighbourly relations.

    Our companion animals can exhibit these and a wide variety of other behaviour problems. Dogs jump up on us, they take over the bed, they destroy the kitchen when left alone and they bite the delivery man. Although cats are seen less often than dogs for problem behaviour this does not mean that cats do not exhibit a similar range of problems, including aggression, spraying or even chewing their way through their owners’ precious cashmere sweaters!

    Why do dogs and cats behave as they do? The simple answer is because they ARE dogs and cats, that is not little people in fur coats. The majority of problems exhibited by dogs and cats are usually perfectly normal behaviours from the animals’ point of view but become a problem for us because they occur in the wrong place at the wrong time and are therefore unacceptable in the domestic environment. Owners need to understand why their pet behaves in a certain way and how to respond appropriately. 

    Some problem behaviours such as pulling on the lead or not coming back when called are simply the result of a lack of obedience and can be resolved by good training using plenty of reward-based positive reinforcement. However, many behaviour problems such as aggression, fear, anxiety, phobias and compulsive disorders cannot be resolved by training alone, although training is always part of the solution. The difference between a trainer and a behaviourist is that a trainer tries to control behaviour whereas a behaviourist finds out why an animal is behaving in a certain way and then uses behaviour modification to change the behaviour.

    Whenever we consider a problem behaviour we must first establish the root cause. What is the motivation or in other words what is driving the behaviour? For example, many behaviour problems have fear or anxiety as an underlying emotional motivation or it may be frustration, emotional conflict or even lack of confidence through a lack of appropriate learning experiences. Any behavioural response by an animal is driven by its instinct to maintain or protect itself.

    The choices an animal makes in response to its environment are influenced by a number of factors including genetics, breed, individual temperament and its learning experiences.

    We know for example that in dogs, a fearful or anxious mother can pass this predisposition on to her puppies hence the recommendation that fearful or nervous bitches should not be allowed to breed. In cats the tendency for boldness and hence friendly behaviour is inherited from the father.

    The subject of breed is a fascinating one and it is especially relevant to what choices a new owner should consider when acquiring a new pet. Certain breeds have been bred for generations to perform specific tasks and this behaviour is “hard wired”; however, when animals are kept in a domestic environment this can create problems. Consider the Border Collie that starts nipping at the children’s heels in an attempt to round them up or chases cyclists or joggers. Border Collies are wonderful herding dogs and workaholics into the bargain. They love being busy. However, when we put them into a flat with little exercise and nothing to do all day then this instinct to herd may be directed towards inappropriate targets. But for the dog he is just behaving like the herding dog he is, in other words like a Border Collie. However, these dogs can be labelled as aggressive; whereas in most case it is just that the dog’s behavioural needs are not being satisfied.

    Another example of dogs behaving like dogs are the terrier breeds. These feisty little dogs were mostly bred to dig down into small dark holes to find and kill rats and rabbits. Where better do this in the absence of a burrow than your expensive sofa!

    If we don’t give the dog an outlet for this digging instinct it will be redirected towards something the dog thinks is perfectly normal but which to the owner is totally unacceptable and the dog is labelled as destructive or naughty. Trying to suppress this behaviour is counter productive, but it does need to be redirected. In Hong Kong, this is not always easy as not everyone has a garden. Providing a sand pit in your flat is not an option either, but maybe taking the terrier to the beach and playing digging games is and your terrier will love you for it.

    Labradors are also very popular in Hong Kong and as owners of these dogs know, they love to come and greet you with a toy in their mouth. This is part of their in-built instinct to retrieve, but try as we might they will never be any good at herding sheep! And on the subject of wool it seems that it is the oriental breeds such as the Siamese that are more likely to end up eating your cardigan. 

    Another influence on behaviour is individual temperament and anyone who has a sister or a brother will know all about that. Within the same family, one sibling will be quiet and shy while another may be full of confidence despite the same parents and the same nurturing. It’s the same with dogs and cats. Look at any litter of puppies or kittens and you can see the puppy that comes rushing to say hello while its sibling hangs back and is bowled over in the rush.

    However, one of the most important factors in how behaviour will manifest is learning and the experiences, both positive and negative, that an animal has, not just as a puppy or kitten but throughout its life.

    Border Collies

    Wonderful herding dogs and workaholics into the bargain. They love being busy.

    Labrador

    Retrievers by nature, this friendly breed will never herd.

    Terrier

    Bred to dig down into burrows for rabbits and rats, these high energy dogs need appropriate digging opportunities and plenty of exercise.

     

     

    Particularly important is the process of socialisation whereby an animal learns to recognise and interact with its own species and the species with which it cohabits, namely us! The process is important because it prepares puppies and kittens for their lives in a domestic environment. The most sensitive period of behavioural development is from 4 to 14 weeks in puppies (but particularly from 4 to 8 weeks) and from 2 to 7 weeks in kittens. It is during these periods that the animal is most receptive to socialisation and it is important for puppies and kittens to be introduced to a wide variety of people, other animals and novel experiences at this time. However, this exposure is unfortunately often lacking in many puppies and kittens which spend their early months in pet shops or breeding establishments and these animals are more likely to suffer behavioural problems as a result.

    As pet owners, we have very high expectations of the animals that share our lives and they reward us with their unconditional love and companionship. But in turn we owe it to them not only to provide them with food and shelter but also to understand their normal behaviour, social structure and the way they communicate. Understanding these and providing good early socialisation can help prevent many behavioural problems and help us as owners to provide a better and more stimulating environment that best meets our pet’s behavioural needs.

    So, many factors contribute to the way our pets behave and the next time you think that your much-loved pet is misbehaving, consider that in fact it might just be misunderstood. 


    Dr. Cynthia Smillie runs the Animal Behaviour Veterinary Practice in Hong Kong. More information online at www.petbehaviourhk.com

     

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  • Legacies                                                                     9

    Why make a will?

    No one likes to think about making a will, but everyone should have one. A will is the only safe way to ensure that your assets are dealt with after your death in accordance with your wishes. Informal arrangements, such as leaving a letter saying how you want your property distributed or simply telling relatives, are not legally effective. Unless you have a properly drafted will which complies with the Wills Ordinance, your family or other interested parties can simply ignore your wishes.

    Moreover, if you fail to make a will, your estate will be distributed in accordance with the Intestates Estates Ordinance. The Ordinance divides up assets among your family, following your death. This division may not accord with your wishes. Even worse, however, if you have no family members within the class prescribed by the Ordinance, then the Government takes all your estate!

    This has nothing to do with estate duty, which was abolished in Hong Kong some years ago. The kings of England in the Middle Ages ordained that if a landowner died without leaving an heir, the king would inherit instead.

    Incredibly, this ancient custom now survives as part of Hong Kong law.

    A will is a technical document which needs to be professionally drafted by a solicitor. Simple mistakes, such as the identity of the legatee or in the description of the property being given, can lead to expensive disputes after the death of the testator. Probate litigation about wills can be incredibly expensive and often leads to arguments and rifts in the family.

    Leaving a legacy in your will to your favourite charity is easy. SPCA can provide specimen clauses for you to give to your solicitor. You can either leave a fixed sum to the charity or alternatively a share of residue (that is a share in the balance of your estate after all debts and fixed legacies have been paid). The latter is particularly useful if you are unsure just what the value of your estate will be.

    Just a final plea: please do not draft your will yourself! Solicitors make far more money out of court cases where wills go wrong than they do out of the comparatively straightforward task of drafting a will. It is also a good idea to review your will from time to time to take account of any new circumstances. Since a will does not take effect until death, you can vary it at any time and your solicitor can easily produce a codicil to take account of, for example, the latest grandchild.

     

    Patrick Hamlin, Withers Hong Kong

     

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  • Animal welfare, animal protection and the law           10 – 11

    How we treat animals has long been a concern for philosophers, ethicists and humanitarians. Developments in animal protection have for hundreds of years run in parallel with developments in human rights and protection. Often advocates of animal protection were also advocates working in the field of child protection, anti-slavery and emancipation. However, for there to be real progress in any of these fields there needs to be a legal framework that can be used to encourage people to behave in the way that society (through various mechanisms) has deemed they should and gives us a mechanism to punish people who do not comply.

    The first animal welfare law was Martin’s Act, which was introduced in 1824 and was a very basic law aimed at protecting food animals, but this was as a key first step in the legal process required to back up and drive improvements in animal protection and welfare. In fact, as a result of this the RSPCA was formed and the first inspectors engaged – their chief role being to “police” animal markets against animal cruelty. In the UK the introduction of the legislation and the action of the RSPCA, its Inspectors, supporters and advocates set a precedent that was then followed by other jurisdictions in the world, including Hong Kong. It is interesting to note that Hong Kong’s Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Ordinance was introduced in 1935 – 14 years after the HK SPCA was formalized in 1921. 1921 it was

    Over the years, there have been many developments in general concepts and attitudes towards animals along with increased knowledge and understanding of their biology and also welfare. In other jurisdictions (including those with legal systems that are comparable to Hong Kong), the law and the legislative process have developed with the aim to ensure that animal welfare legislation matches these developments and has facets that proactively encourage or direct people to treat animals in such a way that their welfare should improve.

    In other countries, anti-cruelty legislation has been replaced or amended to create an Animal Welfare Ordinance – which imposes on people a positive duty to care properly for an animal.

    Because the law on animal welfare is sadly deficient, such cases of animal neglect cannot be prosecuted.

    Unfortunately, Hong Kong is lagging behind not only with anti-cruelty legislation but also with other legislation that should promote and ensure positive welfare and monitoring of animal use, including animals in the pet trade, laboratory and those slaughtered for food.

    For over 20 years the SPCA has been active in proposing and lobbying for various improvements in the legislation (and related policy). Frustratingly, progress has been slow with only the occasional small improvements made. Thus when the SPCA was approached by the Hong Kong University Law Faculty’s Associate Professor Amanda Whitfort, an excellent opportunity was provided to combine the resources of the academic legal field with the SPCA’s practical experience and undertake a review which compared legal regulations controlling the use or care of different groups of animals in Hong Kong with some other similarly advanced jurisdictions.

    The report, undertaken through the Law Faculty’s Centre for Comparative and Public Law, found that Hong Kong’s anti-cruelty legislation cannot protect animals at risk of abuse and suffering. Currently Authorities cannot step in to help a neglected animal until it has actually been harmed by the neglect. In other countries, anti-cruelty legislation has been replaced or amended to create an Animal Welfare Ordinance – which imposes on people a positive duty to care properly for an animal and subsequently protects both animals that have been harmed or are likely to be harmed due to neglect or abuse.

    Similarly the pet trade was another area of much concern with both the primary legislation and the licensing conditions found to be woefully lacking. Licences cannot be revoked even if an animal trader is convicted of an animal cruelty offence. No legislation that exists dictates the size of the space provided to the animal for sale and there is no requirement to exercise dogs kept in pet shops or to have veterinary agreements in place ensuring pre-arranged access to veterinary care.

    Any animals bred or traded by so called “hobby breeders” (non-licensed) are often much worse off and at serious risk of exploitation and poor welfare as there is no regulation of these breeders or how they trade. With only two licensed breeders in Hong Kong the vast majority of dogs and cats in the trade come from this grey unlicensed economy where often the highest cost is borne by the animals.

    However, perhaps the most often overlooked suffering occurs in food animals and the sheer scale of the numbers involved make this an area for serious concern. In Hong Kong, farming related legislation again is outdated and targets cattle, sheep and goats – with some welfare elements, but the most commonly farmed animals – pigs and chickens – have no specific legislation to protect them. These problems for the food animals continue after they leave the farm on the way to our plates, with animal welfare problems occurring in the wet markets and the slaughterhouses, both in the environment the animals are kept in and how they are handled. During the field study conducted by HKU and the SPCA, slaughterhouse workers were seen to be regularly hitting the animals. Pigs with suspected pelvic injuries had their legs tied together to enable them to be forced up ramps to slaughter and the electric voltage used to stun the pigs before slaughter was found to be significantly lower than that used in other common law jurisdictions, allowing for the likelihood of consciousness when the animal is shackled and has its throat cut.

    The review conducted recognises that in many instances the lack of a good progressive legislative framework for animal protection means that the actions of the Authorities may never be able to match the expectations of society at large.

    As a result of the findings, the authors of the review, Professor Whitfort and Dr Woodhouse, made recommendations relating to extensive amendments to, and the further development of, laws, regulations and codes of practice – aiming at improving the welfare of animals across the different groups studied.

    To find out more about the work of the Hong Kong University Centre for Comparative and Public Law please visit http://www.hku.hk/ccpl/.

    The full review is available on the SPCA’s website at www.spca.org.hk

     

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  • Egg laying Hens                                                         12 - 13

    Where our eggs come from and why we should care

    Healthy free-range chickens on a New Zealand farm.  V.S.  Battery chicken exhibiting malnourishment and injuries.

    By David Neale — Animal Welfare Director, Anmimals Asia

    Chicken eggs are loved the world over, they are nutritious, convenient and economical. It is unsurprising then, as the world’s population increases, so does its demand for eggs. As of 2010 there were an estimated 5.9 billion egg laying hens globally, that lay around 1000 billion eggs each year. The welfare of these billions of chickens should be of concern for us all, as 60% are housed within industrial systems - the conventional ‘battery’ cages. This system of husbandry, developed in the U.S.A. in the 1930’s to increase production levels, provides a multitude of  welfare issues.

    For one, the natural behaviour of chickens is denied in battery cages. Research has shown that hens have a strong preference for laying their eggs in a nest and are highly motivated to perform nesting behaviour. Hens also show a strong preference for a littered floor both for pecking and scratching and for dust-bathing, and a preference to perch, especially at night. Battery caging prevents this.

    Battery cages are so small that not only are the chickens natural behaviours prevented, they are also subjected to high levels of bone disorders and even fractures. They are often crammed inside cages with 4 and sometimes 5 birds, and feather loss is high as birds redirect their natural pecking behaviour towards each other, pulling out others birds feathers and preventing natural feather re-growth. This occurs even after the chicks have been subjected to a painful de-beaking process.

    Chickens kept in battery cages often develop severe foot injuries as these conventional cages have wire flooring. Due to the lack of a suitable substrate hen’s claws often become overgrown and can become wrapped around the wire flooring preventing movement. 

    The birds endure these awful conditions and lay eggs for between 18 and 24 months before being sent to slaughter, an act that has its own welfare concerns. “Many millions suffering bruising, injuries and death during the catching, crating and transportation process.” Once birds reach the slaughterhouse most are shackled by their legs, for birds that have sustained injuries during capture and transport this process can be very painful. The bird’s heads are dipped into electrified water before their throats are cut. Many birds avoid the water bath by pulling their bodies above the water causing them to have their throats cut while fully conscious.

    Like any market, production of chicken eggs is consumer driven. Therefore it is up to us, the consumer, to choose eggs from hens raised to higher standards of welfare. Farmers globally supply eggs to meet the demand of the consumer, so while consumers continue to buy shell eggs produced by caged production, farmers will continue to farm hens by the cheapest possible methods. As consumers shift towards buying products from higher welfare production systems so farmers will meet these demands and improve the welfare of their hens.

    This shift has already begun to occur in the European Union. There, following the introduction of voluntary labeling by production method of all shell eggs in 1994 and subsequent mandatory labeling from 2005, free range egg production has steadily increased. In many European countries such as the UK, consumer education programmes also provide consumers with welfare information, allowing consumers to make informed purchasing decisions based on animal welfare.

    UK government figures estimated caged egg production accounted for 81% of total UK production in 1998 and 15% for free range. By 2009, free range egg production has increased to over 37% of the market and is predicted to reach over 50% by 2012, with caged production estimated to decline to 43%. This shift has materialized due to changing consumer demands with consumers choosing to buy eggs from higher welfare production systems, and this shift in consumer demand has influenced policy decisions. 

    In 1999 the European Union laying hen directive banned the use of conventional ‘battery’ cages across all EU states; this law comes into force from 1st January 2012. Caged production can continue through the use of enriched ‘colony’ cages that contain nest boxes, litter, perches, and ‘claw-shortening devices’ to prevent excessive claw growth. Whilst these improvements attempt to address some of the hens basic behavioural needs. They fundamentally do not provide enough space for hens to perform many basic movements such as flapping and stretching their wings and overcrowding of enriched cages will prevent birds using available nest and perch space. So, “despite being a step in the right direction, enriched cages fall far short of free range systems necessary to ensure the improved welfare of chickens.” 

    Hong Kong has negligible local egg production and so it is a huge importer of eggs with an estimated yearly average of 1.5 billion eggs making it the second largest egg importing country in the world. It is the biggest egg market for Chinese egg exports and it is one of the top five markets for eggs exported from the USA. Other countries that export large numbers of eggs to Hong Kong include Thailand, Japan, Korea, Australia and New Zealand.

    Looking at these different sources of eggs in Hong Kong reveals little choice for eggs from chickens farmed in high welfare farms. Over 80% of Hong Kong’s eggs are imported from China where egg production has dramatically increased in the last two decades as it has adopted western industrial farming systems including battery cages. China is by far the biggest producer of eggs in the world with some 1.3 billion egg laying hens, 70% in caged production. Eggs from China and other parts of Asia are farmed intensively to maximise profit and no recognised schemes operate to ensure chicken welfare.

    The USA supplies almost 20% of Hong Kong’s eggs and despite various descriptions used for these imported eggs such as ‘farm fresh’ and ‘cage-free’, there is no adequate legal definition for free range and therefore welfare standards cannot be guaranteed despite any claims on packaging.

    However, accredited free range eggs are available in Hong Kong such as those imported from New Zealand where the farming methods are maintained by the New Zealand Food safety authority that follows standards in the Welfare (Layer Hens) Code of Welfare 2005. Likewise Australian egg farmers have to adhere to strict minimum standards for free range and their eggs are also available in Hong Kong.

    A limited choice then, but the lack of options make that choice even more important. An end to the use of caged hen production will only materialize when consumers change their buying habits and insist upon non-caged egg production. Until this time farmers will continue to provide eggs to consumers using the most economical production method possible, at the expense of the welfare of chickens.

    For more information please contact David Neale at  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or you can visit the SPCA’s new egg website at http://www.spca.org.hk/chicken_web/eng/free_range_eggs_welfare.html

     

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  • Plight of Battery Farmed Chickens                             14

    SPCA, DDB Group Hong Kong Win Top Prize for Campaign to Highlight the Plight of Battery Farmed Chickens

    What would you do if you woke up to find that your apartment building had been turned into a battery farm?

    People across Hong Kong were faced with this very situation, thanks to a new campaign from the SPCA, DDB Hong Kong, and Tribal DDB Hong Kong.

    The ‘Think Your Place is Small?’ campaign alters the audience’s own home environment to provoke thought about the conditions of battery farming.

    Since a typical battery-farmed chicken lives in a space no larger than a letterbox, chicken-shaped direct mail pieces were placed into apartment building letterboxes. The heads and the beaks of the direct-mail chickens turned a row of letterboxes into a representation of a battery farm.

    The audience is asked to consider the living conditions that chickens and hens must endure, and are directed to make a stand against battery farming by buying free range chicken meat and eggs. 

    “In many cases it is the consumer that brings about positive changes in animal welfare. In the case of battery hen farming, which very often cruel, it is the consumers’ choice that will ultimately be the catalyst for humane change,” said Sandy Macalister, executive director of the SPCA Hong Kong.

    “This campaign is designed to highlight the issue, create awareness and inform the public that they can help through their individual choice. We are pleased to see that not only the public but organisations like DDB are aware of, and concerned by the plight of food animals”

    “For most people, it’s easier not to think about where our food comes from,” said Tim Cheng at DDB, “Rather than using shock tactics, this campaign is about provoking thought. It uses a wry, intelligent sense of humour to get people to think about the poultry products they buy at the supermarket.”

     

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  • Sealing the Hunt: An Update                                      15

    The Canadian fur seal hunt, considered the largest killing of mammals in the world, is taking a critical tack after the European Union banned import of Canadian seal products on grounds of cruelty.

    For the past 30 years, animal welfare groups have documented the slaughter of up to 300,000 fur seals in the northern Canadian islands for three weeks starting late March. What they observed, filmed and recorded was the horrendous cruelty in the slaughter of fur seals, including impaling seals with metal picks, dragging them semi-alive across the ice, live skinning and contrary to Canadian law, killing of baby seals under three months old.

    These seals are mainly killed for their skin, which sells at between $120 and $400 per piece. The blubber is used for making health supplements under the product name of Canadian Seal Oil. A tiny portion of the slaughter is processed into seal meat for human consumption. With the European Union ban, Canadian seal hunters have lost a third of their market, resulting in a crash in prices down to as low as HK$60. These economics force the Canadian government down either one of two paths: to buy out the seal hunt industry, or to look for new markets with alternative seal products.

     

    By choosing not to consume the products of this cruel, globally condemned slaughter, the people of Hong Kong can directly help bring it to an end.

    In January 2011, the Canadian Minister of Fish and Oceans, Gail Shea made a startling announcement that an agreement has been reached to export seal meat for human consumption in China. To Rebecca Aldworth, Executive Director of Humane Society International and campaigner against the Canadian seal hunt, this agreement “gives permission for Canada to dump products of cruelty the rest of the world has rejected on China”. Aldworth believes that the Canadian government must be shown that Asian people feel just as strongly as the rest of the world and “they do not want to participate in this industry”.

    Hong Kong now plays a pivotal role in stopping the seal hunt for good. By banning seal products in Hong Kong, we will not only be closing the market here, but also have a knock-on effect on China and Asia, and send a clear message to the Canadian government.

    SPCA has been campaigning for a ban of fur seal products to Hong Kong since 2009. While ordinarily not involving itself in acts of cruelty overseas, the Society now feels a special responsibility to inform Hong Kong people of the key role they have to stop the horrendous killing of 300,000 seals each year. “The SPCA campaign in Hong Kong is now more important than ever,” said Aldworth. “The government of China may currently be allowing Canada to ship seal products to China, but the decision as to whether those products will be marketed lies solely with Chinese businesses and the public. By choosing not to consume the products of this cruel, globally condemned slaughter, the people of Hong Kong can directly help bring it to an end.”

    What you can do:

    • Sign the SPCA petition to ban fur seal products at www.spca.org.hk/stop_seal_trade
    • Tell your friends to sign the petition.
    • Write to your legislative councillor to ban fur seal products.
    • Do not buy seal products either fur, health supplements pills or meat.

     

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  • Vet’s Case Book                                                         16

    Repair of a “Monteggia” Fracture in a Cat

    Fa gum, an 18-month-old domestic short-hair cat, was presented at our Hong Kong hospital after an unknown traumatic event. He was unable to use his left foreleg and exhibited pain and instability in his elbow. However, apart from the painful elbow, general examination was unremarkable.

    He was anaesthetised and radiographs were taken to find out what had happened to cause him so much pain. The X-rays showed that he had dislocated his elbow joint and had fractured his ulna. The elbow joint is a complex hinge joint made up of three bones comprising the humerus in the upper arm and the radius and ulna in the lower arm. These bones are closely held in apposition at the elbow by ligaments and a joint capsule. A fracture of the ulna with dislocation of the elbow at the head of the radial bone is termed a Monteggia fracture and is one of the trickiest orthopaedic surgeries encountered in small animal surgery. Fortunately it is quite a rare fracture… not much help to Fa gum, however!

    The only options for Fa gum were surgical repair or amputation; the former was chosen by the owner. The fractured ulna was initially repaired using a pin to hold the bone in the correct position then a bone plate and screws were placed on the lateral (outside) aspect of the ulna. At this point the elbow was still dislocated and even when placed back in position under anaesthetic it immediately reluxated. This was because all of the ligaments on the lateral side of the joint had broken. These ligaments needed to be replaced or repaired to stabilise the joint. In this case, a prosthetic ligament was created using nylon line wrapped around two screws inserted into the bottom of the humerus and the top of the radius. Spiky washers were used with the screws to hold the nylon tightly in position against the bone.

    The good news is that Fa Gum made an excellent recovery and within a few days was using the leg well, although he still limped for the first two weeks. He is now able to use the leg with no noticeable lameness. In the long term, the nylon leader line may break but the body will have laid down enough fibrous material by then to hold the joint in the correct position. It is anticipated that he should have a normal life with no further elbow problems as long as he stays away from further traumas!

     

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  • Vet Profile                                                                   17

    Dr. Norikata Yanai
    Title: Veterinary Surgeon            
    Nationality: Japanese

     

    Academic qualifications:

    Bachelor of Veterinary Science (BVSc) and Graduate Certificate of Veterinary Studies in Small Animal Medicine and Surgery (GradCertVetStud), University of Sydney, Australia.

     

    Career path:

    As a student I gained experience in a wide variety of animal care areas including working as a veterinary nurse and as a station hand on a sheep farm. Straight after graduation, I was offered a position in a small animal practice in Sydney where I did my final year clinical rotation. After one year in practice I returned to the University of Sydney where I took an internship in small animal medicine and surgery.

     

    My responsibilities included mentoring final year vet students, giving tutorials and undertaking postgraduate course work. In 2008, I decided to come to Hong Kong to improve my Cantonese. I worked in a private hospital for two years before joining SPCA (HK).

     

    Veterinary interests:

    My prime interest is in internal medicine. I am currently studying a Chinese Herbal Medicine course through the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society. I am hoping to use a combination of Western and Chinese Medicine in the future.

     

    Reasons for Working at the SPCA:

    I wanted to work for an organisation where we all share the common goal of improving animal welfare. I also thoroughly enjoy the interesting and varied caseload at the SPCA (HK) and working as part of a friendly and caring team.

     

    Most Unforgettable Experience:

    Was being responsible for a professor’s dog whilst working as an intern at Sydney University Hospital. The dog was terribly ill with a severe kidney infection but after intensive treatment for one week was miraculously able to go home. Sadly 6 months later the dog developed terminal kidney failure. It was a very emotional time but knowing that he had a very loving family supporting him until the very end made me feel that every effort along the journey was a worthwhile one.

     

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  • Vet facts                                                                      17

    SEIZURES

    What is a Seizure?

    Seizures, otherwise known as fits, are a serious medical problem and usually present in three stages:

    1. Trembling, excessive salivation, chewing/gnashing of teeth & restlessness
    2. Limb thrusts, uncontrolled urination/ defaecation/ salivation & head extension
    3. Confusion & increased appetite

     

    What are the causes/ types?

    Seizures are caused by uncontrolled electrical activity in the brain; they are much more common in dogs than our feline friends.

     

    There are numerous causes/types:

    • Hereditary Epilepsy/Breed-related: German Shepherd dogs, Pugs, Dachshunds, Collies, Beagles, Golden Retrievers & Poodles
    • Infections: Bacterial Meningitis & Canine Distemper Virus, Trauma, Toxins
    • Others Causes: Hydrocephalus (birth defect causing fluid accumulation in the head) in Chihuahuas and Siamese cats.
    • Idiopathic Epilepsy: Actual cause/malfunction unknown

     

    How are they diagnosed?

    From the breed, clinical signs and history. Various tests can be performed in an attempt to find the underlying cause including blood, urine and faecal tests, X-rays, ultrasonography, MRI or CT scans.

     

    How are they treated?

    If a cause is found then treatment is aimed at this disorder. In the absence of an identifiable cause and the seizures are frequent enough, anti-seizure medication may be necessary.

     

    What do when your pet has a seizure?

    1. Stay calm
    2. Do not restrain your pet
    3. Keep the area around your pet clear
    4. Dim the lighting and keep noise levels low
    5. Do not put your hand into your pet’s mouth
    6. Take notes on duration and type and if possible video the seizure
    7. Contact your veterinary surgeon for advice

     

    PLEASE NOTE: Most seizures will only last 1-2 minutes and the pet will recover fully after 10-15 minutes. However, if the seizure lasts for more than 3-4 minutes, or if your pet has a cluster of seizures (more than one), gently wrap him a blanket and transport him to your veterinary surgeon.

     

    For further information please contact your veterinary surgeon

    SPCA 24-HR EMERGENCY HOTLINE 2711-1000

     

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  • HARD MAN SOFT HEART                                         18

    Senior Inspector Yung Chi Hang has made many animal rescues in his 5 years at SPCA. But nothing touched him more than the whimpers of a dog cruelly trapped in a snare.

     

    When did you join the SPCA?

    I joined the SPCA in 2005 as an Assistant Inspector, promoted to acting Senior Inspector in 2007 and this year I was confirmed as Senior Inspector.

     

    What inspired you to be an Inspector?

    Even before I joined the SPCA, I was involved in rescuing an animal. While walking in North Point around midday one day, I noticed a cardboard box on the roadside. Curiosity caused me to look inside and there was a weeks-old kitten. It was clearly hungry and looked very sad. After some deliberation, I decided to take the kitten home. He is now a part of my family, living a happy and comfortable life. What a difference compared to his early start, dumped on the street to struggle for food and warmth!

    After leaving university, I worked for the Government for over two years. The job was rather routine and boring. By chance, I learnt about an SPCA recruitment drive for new Inspectors. Feeling that animal rescue work would be meaningful and full of challenges, I applied for the post and have now been with the Inspectorate for 5 years.

     

    What was the most memorable rescue you made?

    In September 2009, I responded with another colleague to a call from a father and daughter about a dog which was whining continuously in a large wooded area in Lam Chuen in Tai Po. Having got there, we could hear the dog crying and it was obvious that it was trapped somewhere. The two of us split up and tried to locate the dog from its increasingly weak and infrequent whimpers. After an hour of searching in the woods, we finally found him on a slope.

    The poor animal’s paw was caught in a snare and badly injured. As the trap was chained to a tree, the dog could not get away. We immediately cut the chain and carried the dog, a mongrel, to our rescue van. The journey out of the forest was steep and made difficult by heavy overgrowth, added to which the weather was exhaustingly hot. Desperate to get the dog to an SPCA vet, we pressed on despite sore arms, insect bites, scratches and the humidity. After a full hour of strenuous hiking, we finally reached the van. We got the dog to hospital where it had its leg amputated. It recovered well and returned to live happily with its thankful owner. 

    The incident left a deep impression on me. No matter how much sweat and discomfort we were feeling, it was nothing compared to what this poor dog had gone through. Our pain was of no consequence.

     

    What motivates you in your job?

    I gain strength and satisfaction from being able to reduce animal suffering.

    This motivates me to work even harder in my animal rescue efforts.

     

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  • SPCA Case files                                                         19 – 21

    Caught in an Illegal Trap

    Call no. 2481H had come through. A member of the public was on the hotline greatly concerned that he could hear what sounded like the cry of a puppy in pain coming from a wooded slope in Mid-Levels. Inspector Desmond went to the area indicated and heard the dog’s cry, as had been reported, and deduced that a puppy had been trapped somewhere on the slope. Desmond could see very little as the slope was covered in dense undergrowth, but he made an initial survey and assessment during which time the puppy continued to yelp pitifully.

    Bobby and Ling, who were carrying out an anti-dog poisoning patrol in the vicinity of Black’s Link, were called and went to the scene to assist. After making further assessments to try and locate the animal’s intermittent cries, the three officers climbed up to the top of the slope and made a downwards sweep through the very thick vegetation. They finally found a puppy with its front leg snared in an animal trap.

    Catching sight of the Inspectors, and as if she was aware that help was at last at hand, the poor puppy started to cry again but less loudly than before.

    Her eyes told the Inspectors everything. She was obviously frightened and in great pain, and appeared to have a broken leg. The Inspectors immediately tried to carefully dismantle the snare, but it was only after a great deal of effort that the puppy’s leg could be released.

    The puppy was taken to the Wanchai SPCA hospital for immediate veterinary treatment and care. Unfortunately, her leg was found to be badly fractured and had to be amputated, and mentally she needed rest to recover from her ordeal. She continues to receive special care at the SPCA while waiting for full recovery and the chance to find a new home. Despite her cruel experience, she is a cheerful little dog!

     

    Appalling Cruelty in Ma On Shan

    The SPCA received a complaint that a large number of dogs and cats were being kept in an animal shelter in Ma On Shan and were in extremely poor condition. Desmond and Volunteer Inspector Tang Wing Kit went to the shelter where they met up with arriving policemen. On inspection, the condition of the cats appeared to be relatively normal and they were housed in an acceptable environment. But the dogs were not. Their situation was appalling. There was ample evidence to prosecute the person in charge of the shelter with offences under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Ordinance, Cap 169, Laws of Hong Kong.

    Forty-three dogs, all suffering from various degrees of skin and other diseases, were kept caged in extremely dirty and unhygienic conditions. The entire place stank of animal excreta, which appeared to have accumulated for several days in the cages and pens where the dogs were kept.

    The dogs were of various breeds. Old English Sheepdogs, Yorkshire Terriers, Tibetan Mastiffs, Maltese Terriers, etc. were barking as if in desperation. A sheep-dog and a Tibetan Mastiff were lying on the floor, the entire skin of their bodies in an advanced stage of disease. They were breathing hard but shallowly. Their eyes were not focusing and suggested that they were suffering not only from disease but from the approach of death.

    Superintendent Bobby, Chief Inspector Anthony, Senior Inspector Hang and Acting Inspector Michelle, who was going off duty at the time but had volunteered to help out, went to give assistance at the shelter. Shortly afterwards, officers and a veterinarian from the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department were called and arrived at scene.

    The person in charge of the animals was arrested and prosecuted, and subsequently convicted of animal cruelty and sentenced to 14 days’ imprisonment and given a fine of HK$7,000.

    The two dogs which were found dying at the scene, and another which did not recover despite caring treatment, were euthanised on humane grounds. All the other dogs have found new homes, except for Lily. She still awaits a kind-hearted person to take her home…

    From October 2010 to December 2010, the Inspectorate received a total of 10,262 calls and handled 1,325 animals. SPCA Inspectors rescued 436 animals, investigated 213 complaints, and conducted inspections of 106 pet shops and 243 wet markets.

     

    September (Prosecuted)

    Prosecution under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Ordinance followed the finding of 149 dogs kept caged in substandard kennels with inadequate care in Lau Fau Shan.

     

    September (Rescued)

    Unable to stand up properly, this young boar was found on the roadside in Fo Tan. It was rescued by an SPCA inspector and taken to Kadoorie Farm for treatment.

     

    September (Rescued)

    Curiosity nearly killed the cat… But this one was lucky and was rescued from the ledge of a residential building in Mid-levels by the SPCA and returned to its owner.

     

    October (Rescued)

    Not commonly seen in Hong Kong due to declining habitat, this Pheasant-tailed Jacana was found inside the Shatin Racecourse, well off track from the freshwater wetlands it favours. It was rescued by an SPCA inspector and taken to Kadoorie Farm.

     

    October (Rescued)

    Caught in a tight hole on the outer wall of a residential building in Kwun Tong, this well-fed cat was freed by SPCA inspectors and returned to its owner.

     

    November (Arrested)

    Not so fortunate was this poor dog. It was found dead and covered in flies in an unattended village house in Kam Tin, alongside another in very bad condition. This resulted in an arrest under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Ordinance.

     

    November (Arrested)

    Another person was arrested under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Ordinance following the finding of a dog, confined in its own filth, in a far-too-small cage and without water on the roof of a residential building in Happy Valley.

     

    November (Arrested)

    A trader who had been running streets stalls in Sham Shui Po, North Point and Tai Po using white mice to demonstrate the effectiveness of mice-deterring apparatus was arrested under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Ordinance for causing unnecessary suffering.

     

    November (Rescued)

    A pigeon snared between two trees by a piece of string entangled in its wing was rescued by SPCA inspectors. The Fire Services Department helped in the rescue using the hydraulic platform of a fire engine. The bird was taken to an SPCA hospital for care and treatment.

     

    November (Rescued)

    An African Spur-thighed Tortoise with a prolapsed penis was found abandoned in a housing estate in Kwai Chung. It was rescued and taken by an SPCA inspector to an SPCA hospital for care and treatment.

     

    November (Rescued)

    SPCA inspectors were alerted to a cat trapped on the concrete base of a noise barrier along the Yuen Long highway. The terrified animal was rescued and taken to an SPCA hospital for checking.

     

    November (Rescued)

    Falling victim to an illegal and inhumane animal trap on a wooded slope in Mid-levels, this young puppy was rescued by SPCA inspectors and taken to an SPCA hospital for treatment to its injured front leg.

     

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  • DOG TRUST                                                               22

    Lessons from our companions
    BY MARC BEKOFF

     

    From time to time, it’s a good idea to revisit some common beliefs we have about relationships between ourselves and other animals. 

    I’ve been asked on many occasions about trust among animals: What does it mean to say our companions love us almost unconditionally, that they trust us?

    I find it easiest to think about dog trust in terms of what they expect from us, their innate, ancestral, and deep faith in us, their unwavering belief that we will take our responsibilities to them as seriously as we assume responsibility for other humans. Basically, they expect that we always will have their best interests in mind, that we will care for them and be concerned with maximizing their well-being.

    We are our companions’ trusted guardians, not their owners. We don’t own our companions like we own such property as our bicycles and backpacks. A number of cities including my home of Boulder, Colorado have agreed that dogs are not owned commodities.

    So, we feed and exercise our companions regularly, we scratch them behind their ears that vary in size and shape, rub their bellies and watch them succumb to our touch, melting like hot butter as our fingers massage them into deep relaxation. We also hug them, love them, and welcome them into our homes as family members (which pleases them immensely because They’re such social beings), and we take them to a veterinarian when they need medical care. They feel better because of our devotion to them.

    Having said this, on occasion we may also intentionally expose our companions to painful situations, such as allowing them to receive vaccinations or to undergo surgery. We haven’t betrayed their trust by causing them these types of intentional pain; trust depends on what a person (or other animal) intends to do, and whether their actions are in the best interest of another being. Vet care falls into that category of what we believe to be in their best interests.

    My ever-trusting companion dog, Jethro, on occasion needed acupuncture for bad arthritis in his left elbow, and he clearly didn’t like it the first two times he was stuck with the needles. But afterwards he settled in and went through the treatments with no hesitancy, even dragging me into the veterinarian’s office. After 8 treatments he went from a dog who struggled to walk for 10 minutes to a frisky romping canine.

    The pain to which I exposed Jethro was caused intentionally by me and the veterinarian. But we did not betray his trust in us. However, if we beat our companions or otherwise abuse them, leave them in a hot car, starve them, neglect their need for love, make them fight for their lives (and our livelihood), or allow them to be abused in horrible experiments or for entertainment, we have betrayed them, we have let them down. 

    It breaks my heart to know that some people can be so mean. And I know that many others agree that betraying the trust our companions have in us is simply unacceptable behavior that must never be tolerated. But, regardless, in most instances they’ll still trust us in the future. It’s just who they are, who they have become via the evolutionary process of domestication. They’re that trusting and confident with very few conditions.

    It’s indisputable that we severely psychologically and physically harm our companions when we let them down, when we neglect them or dominate them selfishly with no interest in the deep hurt for which we’re responsible.

    When we betray our companion’s innocence and trust, our actions are ethically indefensible and we become less than human; it’s simply wrong, so let’s not do it — ever. Let’s work hard to instill a deep-caring ethic in all people and in our children, ambassadors of goodwill (for other animals and ourselves) in the future. 

    Humane education is critical. In addition to teaching children using books and other second-hand material, we need to provide clear examples of compassion, respect, and love in our own behavior. These wonderful beings make us more human and we suffer the indignities we impose on them.

     

    Marc Bekoff, Professor Emeritus of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Colorado, is a columnist for Change.org.

     

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  • Bucking the trend                                                        23

    Avoiding impluse purchase in the year of rabbit

    The Chinese horoscope always arouses concern that if there is a companion animal associated with that year, people may get such an animal on impulse and later regret their decision with dire consequences for the pet. 

    Thus, the year of the rabbit brings with it the worry that rabbits may be bought as pets, or given as gifts, with little consideration for the animal – simply thinking it will bring good luck. In the last year of the rabbit, in 1999, the SPCA, happily, did not find this to be the case and hopes that this year will be the same – making it a happy year for people and rabbits alike.

    Impulse or ill-considered pet purchasing happens to all species and for many different reasons. Bucky (pictured) was probably an example, although no one really knows what Bucky’s life was like before he was dumped in a cage on the ground floor of a Yau Tong apartment block.

    Bucky was rescued by SPCA Inspectors and brought to the SPCA to be examined by a vet, who declared him fit and healthy. Subsequently in our re-homing centre, Bucky became a favourite with staff and volunteers – constantly following them around and sometimes getting titbits for lunch.

    His only vice was that he didn’t like other rabbits! 

    Bucky was a New Zealand White breed, and while these animals start off small and fluffy they grow to be the size of a domestic cat or small dog. At the SPCA, we can only surmise that Bucky may well have fallen foul of someone’s impulse purchase of a cute fluffy, white bunny, but that the novelty wore off over time and as Bucky grew larger.

    Happily, Bucky found a new home last July after being with us for just under a year, having during that time watched many other lucky bunnies go off to enjoy new lives.

     

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  • Year of the Rabbit                                                       24 - 25

    A few fun facts about rabbits

    • Their ears are very sensitive and highly mobile — able to move around and detect the slightest sound.
    • Rabbits can suffer heat stroke if left in the sun for too long
    • Rabbits have eyes on the sides of their heads to help them spot predators, but they do have a blind spot directly in front of them.
    • Rabbits can be litter trained.
    • A male rabbit is called a ‘buck’ and a female is a ‘doe’.
    • A rabbit’s teeth never stop growing.
    • Rabbits can live for 8-12 years.
    • A 2 kg rabbit will drink as much water as a 10 kg dog.
    • Rabbits can start breeding at 3-4 months of age.
    • In the wild, a rabbit’s home is called a ‘warren’.
    • A happy rabbit will jump and twist, which is called a ‘binky’.
    • Rabbits will purr like a cat.
    • Rabbits originated in Europe and are part of the lagomorph family.
    • Rabbits are very fast and can leap as high as one metre in order to escape predators.
    • A group of rabbits is called a ‘herd’.
    • Rabbits groom themselves.
    • A baby rabbit is called a “kit.”

     

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  • Happy Endings                                                            28

    Tiger

    Mr Wong has been adopting animals for over ten years, firstly with cats, then with dogs. Some of the cats he adopted have passed on. To maintain a lively atmosphere at home, Mr Wong decided to visit the Homing Department at SPCA in search of new companions.

    With a family of children, cats and dogs, Mr Wong decided that the best arrangement was first to have his daughter meet with the French bulldog of his choice, Tiger. He wanted the entire family to be comfortable with Tiger before bring it home.

    Tiger adapted quickly to its new home. Mr Wong arranged for a basket as Tiger’s new bed, which it loves. At first the other dog, a golden retriever were quite jealous of the attention that Tiger was getting. But after a short while, things settled down. The family of cats, dogs and human once again revert to being one happy, harmonious household.

    Occasionally when the golden retriever gets into skirmishes with neighbouring dogs, Tiger would rush out to defend him. Although Tiger can hardly compare in size, and his involvement definitely not encouraged by Mr Wong, it reflects its loyalty and protectiveness. Mr Wong treasures Tiger for its bravery and devotion.

     

    Handy

    Belle Kwok adopted her first lizard, “Big Mouth” in September 2009. It has a very pleasant temperament, and will even let Belle hold it while watching television. So when Handy came up for adoption at the SPCA, Belle didn’t hesitate. This second adoption process was very quick. In no time, Handy found itself in a new home. 

    Handy is unique as it is missing a its front left foot, resulting in an interesting gait in its walk Handy was quite aloof when it first returned home, and didn’t respond to Belle, but soon they got used to each other and the new surrounding. Big Mouth and Handy started playing with each other and became good friends. Since they were both pale in colour, Belle and her family called them “Big Pig” and “Small Pig”.

    Despite having only 3 legs, Handy did not show any sign of inferiority. Quite the contrary, it is very active and no different from other lizards. It enjoys a good back scratch, and wriggles its legs in pleasure when receiving one. The unusual gait even gives Handy a distinctive appearance.

     

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  • SPCA Family Wag‘N’Walk  2011                                29

    March 27 (Sunday) - Pak Tam Chung, Sai Kung

    The annual SPCA dog walk, Family Wag ‘N’ Walk will take place on Sunday March 27 at the Pak Tam Chung PHAB BBQ garden. The event will occupying a portion of the area from 7:00am to 1:00pm for this event. Please accept our apologies if this causes any inconvenience.

    The Walk will start from the PHAB BBQ garden along Tai Mong Tsai Road and Man Yee Road into the East Dam of High Island Reservoir, and back. At the PHAB BBQ garden there will be games, live music and food available for participants.

    Funds are raised to help build a new Animal Welfare Operation Centre in New Territories to help rescue animals.

    For more information or registration please see www.spca.org.hk/petwalk2011or call 2232 5543/ 2232 5577.

     

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