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Hong Kong warns against intervening in cull of Covid-19 hamsters

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: Hong Kong warns people not to interfere with the Covid-19 hamster cull. (via Pixabay)

Facing a backlash after their order to kill about 2,000 hamsters caught up in a Covid-19 outbreak, Hong Kong officials are warning people not to intervene in the hamster euthanasia. 11 hamsters tested positive for Covid-19 in an outbreak that also spread to a worker at a pet shop, prompting authorities to spring to action Tuesday to curb the spread of the cluster by rounding up about 2,000 hamsters from several dozen pet shops in order to kill them.

But now, thousands of people are pushing back, offering to adopt the hamsters or otherwise step is to prevent the mass euthanasia. People are lashing out at the pandemic advisors who ordered the slaughter and at the government in general.

The Chief Executive of Hong Kong called the backlash irrational, and the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department threatened to call in the law if that’s what it took to stop people from interfering with the execution of the hamsters.

“If the people concerned continue with such action, or fail to return the hamsters taken away, the AFCD will stringently follow up and hand it over to the police for handling.”

The Hong Kong government is hell-bent on putting down the hamsters, saying that they have to play it safe and can’t take any chances that the hamsters could spread Covid-19 to more humans, though, despite many animals and pets such as cats and dogs being diagnosed with Covid-19 around the world, there hasn’t been any evidence that animals can spread Covid-19 humans in any significant amounts.

Officials maintain that they are euthanising the hamsters as humanely as possible, and calling on the public at large to support their efforts of eradicating Covid-19 and not fight the disheartening order. They’ve been testing other animals from the pet shop including chinchillas and rabbits, but have not found any other Covid-19 infections. The entire lot of animals had been imported from the Netherlands.

Hong Kong has maintained among the strictest lockdowns in the world, fighting to try to achieve a zero Covid-19 strategy while most other countries have shifted to a learn to live with it strategy. Flights have been limited or cancelled completely, social places like schools in gyms remain shuttered, restaurants close at 6 pm, and government officials continue to fight to stop the spread of any Covid-19 cases, even if it means destroying thousands of hamsters.

SOURCE: Thail PBS World

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    Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10 years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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