Hong Kong Seizes Hamsters from Pet Stores for Mass Slaughter amid COVID Qualms, Owners Outraged
After the coronavirus outbreak in a pet store, the city went into a frenzy but thousands of volunteers come forth to adopt unwanted hamsters
Following a COVID outbreak in Hong Kong, authorities ordered to kill thousands of hamsters and other small animals after a pet store workers and several rodents tested positive for coronavirus. Authority personnel went swooping in on the Little Boss pet shop and seized a number of animals to be euthanized to maintain the city’s uncompromising zero-COVID approach two years into the pandemic.
Moreover, families who have purchased a hamster from this pet store since December 22 have been guided to hand over their pet to be put down. Some 2,000 hamsters and other small mammals are destined to be culled due to the outbreak linked to the shop.
The move has outraged owners and thousands of people have signed a petition voicing their opposition against the move. Following the mass culling order, thousands of people in the city have volunteered to adopt unwanted hamsters amid the raised alarm that frightened owners would abandon their pets.
Scientists around the world and Hong Kong health and veterinary establishments have said that there was no evidence that these animals play a major role in human infection with the coronavirus. Conversely, Health Secretary Sophia Chan said that having pursued a policy of zero tolerance of the virus, she could not rule out any transmission risks, hence, the government issued the culling order.
Health personnel in hazmat suits were witnessed walking out of pet shops around the city transporting red plastic bags into their vans. Around 150 of the pet shop’s customers were sent into isolation. Notwithstanding the cull order, authorities have asked many pet shops to close, while imports and sale of small mammals were deferred.
The cull order has been widely criticized as it borders on animal cruelty; however, this can be overlooked as it is to maintain the zero-tolerance policy of the city against the pandemic, which has killed 5,565,197 people, worldwide.