The legislature’s 1st Standing Committee President Kwan Tsui Hang revealed Thursday that there will be a list of animals that residents are prohibited from keeping as pets.
The veteran lawmaker-cum-unionist added that the list of prohibited pets will be published by the government after it has been approved by the chief executive.
Kwan spoke to reporters at a press conference in the legislature after another meeting between committee members and government officials about the government’s animal protection bill.
Outgoing Secretary for Administration and Justice Florinda Chan Lai Man and Civic and Municipal Affairs Bureau (IACM) Acting President Alex Vong Iao Lek attended the meeting.
Kwan said the list was likely to include endangered species as well as animals that may pose a serious threat to humans, adding the reason for the list was for public interest, safety and animal welfare.
Kwan did not elaborate on the kind of animals that will be listed as prohibited pets.
As for residents who already own animals that will be on the list, Kwan said after the animal rights bill comes into effect, they would need to apply for a special licence from the IACM within six months after its promulgation if they want to keep their prohibited pet.
Kwan also revealed that the government initially considered to allow people not just to keep the prohibited pets but also to breed them. However, Kwan said she and members of the committee found this illogical, adding that government officials agreed with their assessment.
“From the point of view of respecting animals’ lives, it is reasonable why people would be allowed to keep those prohibited pets,” she said. “But why would they be allowed to breed these animals? This is logically flawed and even the government says it should be forbidden. The way the bill is written means that such practice [breeding prohibited animals] would be allowed… and government officials agreed with us and said they will amend [to the bill].”
Kwan added that the animal rights bill also stipulates pet owners’ responsibility, ranging from ensuring that their pets do not attack people or other animals and that the pets are protected from abuse, to ensuring that the animals live in a safe and clean environment.
She also said the committee members want the government to provide more information on how the bureaus will implement the relevant measures, adding that the government officials told the committee that they will introduce related guidelines in the future.
Kwan said the committee members also addressed the issues regarding the treatment of animals that will be kept for short periods only, such as by poultry sellers, adding that government officials had promised to further clarify the matter.
On the issue of eating pets, Kwan simply reiterated that the bill only bans the consumption of cats and dogs.
The government-initiated bill’s general outline has already been passed by lawmakers in a previous plenum. After its committee-level discussions, the bill will have to be passed article-by-article in another plenary session.(macaunews/macaupost)