Hong Kong puts down 2,000 hamsters over Covid-19 fear, animal rights activists worried

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Animal rights groups in Hong Kong fear that pet owners might abandon their pets after 11 rodents in a pet shop contracted Covid-19. Though scientists around the globe say animals are not a large part of the pandemic’s spread, an SPCA said many pet owners contacted them asking what to do in light of the incident. The SPCA urged them not to abandon their pets.

Determined not to take any chances with Covid-19 spreading, Hong Kong officials ordered 2,000 hamsters from 34 pet shops to be put down after hamsters tested positive for it. Other animals tested included rabbits and chinchillas, but only the hamsters were found to be positive. This decision came after a series of Delta variant infections traced back to one pet shop owner.

Covid-19 is being detected in zoos around the world, with recent incidents including lions and pumas in Johannesburg, and snow leopards in Nebraska. In the US, 315 animals from 15 species are now confirmed to have SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19. This includes cats, dogs, tigers, lions, snow leopards, gorillas, otters, a cougar, a ferret, white-tailed deer. Carnivorian animals are the main group of animals impacted by Covid-19. There is still, however, not enough data to prove that carnivorian animals are necessarily more susceptible to the virus.

Some animals are more susceptible to some variants than others. Mice, for example, did not contract SARS-Cov-2, but can be infected with the Beta variant.

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Sources: Channel News Asia | Financial Times | National Geographic

Covid-19 News

Tara Abhasakun

A Thai-American dual citizen, Tara has reported news and spoken on a number of human rights and cultural news issues in Thailand. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in history from The College of Wooster. She interned at Southeast Asia Globe, and has written for a number of outlets. Tara reports on a range of Thailand news issues.

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