Female staff of Little Boss pet shop saddened by culling of more than 20 small animals raised over years


21st January 2022 – (Hong Kong) A female employee and a female customer of Little Boss pet store in Causeway Bay have tested positive for Delta variant. Due to potential animal-to-human transmission, the government culled hamsters in all branches of Little Boss in Hong Kong and its warehouse in Tai Po, and hamsters in other pet stores will also be culled.

Two ex-employees of Little Boss was saddened after Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) also culled more than 20 small animals that had been raised in the office by employees for many years. They had congenital defects and as a result, they were not sold. The two former employees also pointed out that the batch of small animals had no contact with the small animals in the warehouse, and the staff who took care of them would not go to the warehouse.

According to them, there were also no small animals that arrived in Hong Kong at the end of December last year in the animal room. Many of the small animals had been raised for more than four to five years. Most of them were rabbits, and there were also a small number of hamsters and guinea pigs.

According to Yuen Kwok-yung, chair professor of the Department of Microbiology of the University of Hong Kong, the virus isolated by the team in the pet store has a special mutated strain called “D427G”, but this mutation was not detected in the Czech Laboratory, which shows that the virus found in the pet store may be a new mutated strain. While it is not certain that the mutant virus was created in hamsters and then transmitted to humans, if community transmission of the mutant virus is not stopped soon, it could spread across Hong Kong, the mainland and overseas, leading to another global catastrophe.

He also pointed out that there are good reasons to believe that the possibility of animal-to-human transmission is very high, and the second generation of transmission has occurred in pet stores, leading to another transmission chain. Among the preliminary cases, one customer who went shopping at the “I Love Rabbit” pet store in Mong Kok on the 4th of this month was infected. The pet store sold hamsters and other animals.