A total of eight local animal protection groups Sunday urged the government to ensure that no greyhounds from the Macau (Yat Yuen) Canidrome Co. Ltd. will be sent to the mainland as it still does not have an animal protection law, after the closure of the racetrack in Fai Chi Kei later this month.
The activists also urged the government to neuter the dogs before they are adopted.
The eight local animal protection groups have formed an “alliance” which aims to “save” the several hundred greyhounds.
A representative from each of seven of the eight animal protection groups co-hosted a press conference yesterday to urge the government to announce how it plans to solve the greyhound issue, two weeks before the official closure of the racetrack on July 21. One of the eight groups failed to send a representative to the press conference held at a kindergarten.
Addressing yesterday’s press conference, Macau Abandoned Animals Protection Association (AAPAM) Chairwoman Yoko Choi Wing Chi said that the eight groups collectively sent letters to Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai On, the Central People’s Government Liaison Office in Macau, the Civic and Municipal Affairs Bureau (IACM) and the greyhound racetrack operator last week, urging the government to announce its relocation plan for the dogs. She said that the eight groups have still not received a reply from any of the four individuals or entities.
The Civic and Municipal Affairs Bureau said in a statement on Monday last week that it requested the greyhound racetrack operator earlier that day to submit a new relocation plan for the dogs which have not been adopted by July 10.
The Civic and Municipal Affairs Bureau (IACM) said in a statement on June 11 that it was studying a proposal submitted by the racetrack operator early last month about its relocation plan for the dogs.
The racetrack kennels reportedly house about 650 greyhounds.
According to the June 11 statement, the racetrack company submitted the proposal on June 8, which includes adoptions and also relocating the greyhounds to somewhere outside Macau “in collaboration with organisations on the mainland”.
In July 2016, the government told the racetrack operator to vacate the property in Fai Chi Kei, a public land concession, within two years. The company’s concession to run greyhound racing will expire on July 20. The company is headed by gaming executive-cum-lawmaker Angela Leong On Kei, the number-four wife of retired nonagenarian gaming mogul Stanley Ho Hung Sun.
According to the proposal submitted on June 8, the company wants to use the Fai Chi Kei racetrack for three additional months, to give it more time to relocate the dogs, including moving some of them to the stables at the Taipa horse-racing track run by the Macau Jockey Club (MJC), which Leong also heads, and housing them there temporarily, according to the June 11 statement.
In response, the government has repeatedly said that there’s no way of allowing the greyhound racetrack operator to use the Fai Chi Kei property for an additional period of time.
During the press conference, Choi pointed out that while the racetrack operator has recently hosted three adoption days for the dogs, the company has still not announced its final relocation plan for the dogs.
According to The Macau Post Daily Choi also said that the eight groups were worried that the adopted greyhounds would be used for breeding or for illegal dog-racing “somewhere”.
Choi urged the Civic and Municipal Affairs Bureau to ensure that the greyhounds are neutered before they are adopted.
Choi also said that representatives of local animal protection groups have had a string of meetings with IACM officials about how to handle the greyhounds’ fate. IACM officials told the groups that the bureau will only announce its plan after July 21 when the government repossesses the racetrack’s plot of land, Choi said.
The operator held its last racing day on June 30.
Choi also said that the eight groups are willing to help the Civic and Municipal Affairs Bureau if it needs assistance in the dogs’ adoption process.