Demand for cheap pets drives smuggling: law professor

An animal law expert says the smuggling in of pedigree animals to Hong Kong will continue as long as there is demand for pets at cheap prices.

Amanda Whitfort, an associate law professor at the University of Hong Kong, was commenting after authorities seized more than 130 cats and dogs on a speedboat entering Hong Kong. The animals were said to have a market value of HK$1.4 million.

Professor Whitfort told RTHK the situation is exacerbated by Hong Kong’s proximity to the mainland, where animals are easily bred in often poor conditions.

“This type of problem will continue while there is consumer demand for animals at cheap prices,” she said. “No matter how much we do to fix the laws here in Hong Kong – for example bringing in trading laws to ensure all dog breeders are licensed – people will still go where they can get the animals for the cheapest cost.

“What they don’t recognise of course is that those animals come from awful conditions.”