Saturday 7 August 2021

Hong Kong residents are emigrating with or without their pets

I am sure anyone and everyone knows about China's crackdown on democracy supporters in Hong Kong. They introduced a security law which effectively undermines democracy in Hong Kong and which is in clear breach of their treaty with the UK which was signed at handover. The UK failed to call them out on this and did nothing except to allow Hong Kongers fast-track immigration into the UK.

People who push back against the Hong Kong government which is dictated to by China' government are subject to security clampdowns, abuses of democracy et cetera. Therefore, many Hong Kong citizens who support democracy and simply can't stop and comply, have decided to leave Hong Kong in their many thousands.

Hong Kong emigrants
Hong Kong emigrants. Photo: Hong Kong Free Press. Not the title 'Free Press'. That is a loaded title and a dig at China.

This leaves the big question as to what to do with their companion animals. They can take them with them but the costs are extraordinarily high. One Hong Kong citizen, Yip, 40, spent over $14,000 to get his three huskies and his cat to Britain where he is settling with his girlfriend and a 22-year-old daughter. He simply couldn't leave them behind.

As mentioned, Britain decided to give Hong Kong citizens a rapid route to citizenship in Britain with specially created visas. However, because of the complexities of flying companion animals from Hong Kong to Britain due in part to the coronavirus pandemic, combined with the costs and the issues of quarantine when they arrive in the UK, many Hong Kong citizens are abandoning their pets.

This is confirmed by veterinarians and animal shelters. It is reported that records from the Agriculture and Fisheries Department in Hong Kong, show that there has been a 35% increase in animal health certificate issued from 2018 to 2020. The certificates are required to travel when emigrating from Hong Kong.

Also, the SPCA animal welfare group which operates veterinary clinics in Hong Kong reports an approximate fivefold increase between 2018 and 2020 of micro-chipping. This is required when emigrating to European countries, New Zealand and Australia. This is clearly indicative of a surge in immigration to those countries from Hong Kong.

And according to the Hong Kong Dog Rescue Charity there has been a 30% increase in the number of dogs abandoned in recent months. 20 dogs have been abandoned per month according to this charity.

And the SPCA's chief veterinary surgeon, Jane Gray, reports that they are receiving more telephone calls from people who are considering abandoning their companion animals. Her staff have been trying to convince them not to relinquish them. She said, quite correctly, that when you adopt a companion animal you do it for the life of the animal.

Unfortunately, when push comes to shove and people really need to get out of Hong Kong it does test the relationship between themselves and their companion animal. It's the true test as to whether the bond is good and the relationship is sound. When it is not, those are the circumstances under which relinquishment takes place.

Report: Reuters.

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