Illegal dog and cat meat sales prompt increased enforcement measures in Hong Kong

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22nd March 2023 – (Hong Kong) The Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) in Hong Kong has announced a crackdown on the sale and consumption of dog and cat meat, citing regulations that prohibit the consumption, possession and sale of such meats. Under the Dogs and Cats Regulations (Cap. 167A), violators may face severe penalties, including fines of up to HK$5,000 and six months’ imprisonment.

To curb the illegal trade in dog and cat meat, the AFCD has increased surveillance, inspections, and enforcement actions, including enhanced online surveillance. In recent years, the AFCD has received a total of four complaints about licensed fresh provision shops (FPS) suspected of illegally selling cat or dog meat, and has successfully prosecuted one case. The department will deploy staff to any premises under complaint for inspection, and seize commodities in the shops for testing if necessary. If there is sufficient evidence, prosecution will be instituted against persons concerned.

The Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) is responsible for licensing food premises, including FPS. The department conducts inspections, sampling, and seizure of suspected commodities in shops and takes other enforcement actions to ensure compliance with the licensing conditions and the Public Health and Municipal Services Ordinance (Cap. 132) on food safety and environmental hygiene. If the FEHD discovers any suspected sale of dog or cat meat, it will refer the case to the AFCD for follow-up. The two departments will carry out joint operations as necessary.

Anyone found guilty of violating the Dogs and Cats Regulations (Cap. 167A) by eating, selling, or possessing dog or cat meat for food may face a maximum fine of $5,000 and six months’ imprisonment. Offenders have been sentenced to imprisonment in recent years, reflecting the severe consequences of breaching the regulations. The AFCD will continue to closely monitor the situation and review the penalty level when necessary.

The AFCD, FEHD, and Hong Kong Customs and Excise Department work closely to combat smuggling activities at various control points. The departments convene regular meetings, conduct joint operations at control points, and exchange intelligence to identify and intercept any illegal trade in dog and cat meat. The AFCD also maintains close liaison with the General Administration of Customs of the People’s Republic of China to exchange intelligence.

The AFCD and FEHD are working together to ensure compliance with the regulations, and violators may face severe penalties for breaching the law. The public is encouraged to report any suspected cases of illegal trade in dog and cat meat to the relevant authorities.