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InternationalKilling of hamsters because of COVID in Hong Kong

Killing of hamsters because of COVID in Hong Kong

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Gaston de Persigny
Gaston de Persigny
Gaston de Persigny - Reporter at The European Times News

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After killing hamsters over COVID: Hong Kong warns conservationists not to interfere

Authorities “strongly encouraged” anyone who bought a small mammal after December 22 – just before Christmas – to bring the animal for euthanasia

The Hong Kong government today insisted that animal rights activists not stop the massacre of hundreds of small mammals, which began after the discovery of COVID-19 in hamsters, AFP reported.

Following the example of neighboring mainland China, the territory follows the “zero COVID” strategy. The appearance of each new case causes intensive search for contact persons, local quarantines and mass testing.

The extermination of nearly 2,000 small animals, mostly hamsters, but also chinchillas, rabbits and guinea pigs, was ordered by authorities as a “precautionary measure” after positive tests for COVID in a pet store.

Authorities “strongly encouraged” anyone who bought a small mammal after December 22, just before Christmas, to bring the animal for euthanasia.

The hamsters with positive tests for COVID-19 seem to have been imported from abroad.

The decision to kill these mammals outraged animal rights activists. Some gathered in front of a government-run hamster collection center to dissuade their owners from deciding to hand them over to the authorities.

The Ministry of Agriculture demanded in a statement that the actions of the protesters be stopped immediately and specified that the police were informed about the obstacles they created. So far, there are no sanctions for pet owners who refuse to part with their hamsters. However, health authorities have assured that Hong Kong has the legal means to oblige them. They warned that there was an “increased risk” of animals transmitting the virus to humans after new cases of COVID-19 related to other local pet stores were discovered.

“The risk remains low, but we are constantly monitoring it,” said Maria Van Kerchow of the WHO this week.

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