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Over 2,000 Hamsters Euthanized Over Fears of COVID

Hamsters are among the cutest and easiest-to-cope-with rodents in the world. But have you ever heard that Hong Kong is planning on euthanizing more than 2,000 hamsters because of COVID?

Friday, the 21st of January 2022, the Hong Kong government said they are planning to cull over 2,000 hamsters, together with other animals, after news broke out that a pet store tested positive for the virus.

In response, outraged pet owners and animal rights advocates took it negatively and put up several online petitions to urge authorities and officials to think twice and reconsider.

The Start of the Contact

This news came out after Monday. A 23-year-old employee from a pet store named the Little Boss pet store tested positive for the COVID-19 Delta variant.

Following this, a customer who came into the store with whom the employee interacted was later confirmed positive of the virus.

Hamsters Euthanized Over Fears of COVID

Then, on Tuesday, officials confirmed that about eleven (11) hamsters preliminary tested positive for COVID, sparking the curiosity of whether an animal-to-human transmission is possible.

Thomas Sit, Assistant Director of the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Conservation Department, said that hamsters and other animals could contract and transmit the virus to fellow animals, even to human beings.

(Hamsters) can infect other animals, other hamsters and human beings. We have to protect public health, and we have no choice.”

An AFCD spokesperson adds that the government isn’t currently equipped with the right apparatus and facilities to test thousands of hamsters daily. Quarantining and isolating them would be the best thing to do.

On the contrary, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [1] states that there is little to no evidence that animal transmission is a huge and critical factor for spreading the virus.

As a matter of fact, according to them, more studies are needed to fully understand how the virus is contracted and spread from animals.

Responses From Pet Owners

Underground movements are being made to convince and urge authorities to find alternatives and save abandoned hamsters by putting up foster caregivers to take them in and take care of them.

A pet owner we will refer to as “Alice” expressed her disappointment and her decision that she would not, in fact, never surrender the pet hamster, labelling the government’s decision as “absurd.”

Their sins are too deep… I don’t want my hamster killed,”

Alice says while holding back her tears.

Michael Tien, the lawmaker, is neither against the people nor the government. He says it will be best to separate and round the hamsters up [2] as there’s a possibility of worse and more significant consequences if this is left unnoticed.

In other news, Mainland China has also taken a similar path for pets.

This nationwide agreement was followed by the culling of three (3) pet cats in the city of Harbin that tested positive for the COVID virus, sending their owners to hospitals to be quarantined.

Despite all the efforts of these underground movements and operations, the Hong Kong government still proceeded with euthanasia, taking out a total of 1,213 animals, which include hamsters, chinchillas, guinea pigs, and rabbits.

Hamsters Euthanized

Sources:

  1. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/animals.html#:~:text=Risk%20of%20animals%20spreading%20SARS%2DCoV%2D2%20to%20people,COVID%2D19%2C%20to%20people.
  2. https://www.seattletimes.com/nation-world/hamster-massacre-residents-resist-zero-covid-citys-pet-project/
Alina Hartley
Alina Hartley

Alina Hartley is a small-town girl with a ginormous love of bearded dragons. It all started with Winchester, a baby bearded who was abandoned at the shelter by his former owners because of a birth defect that caused one front leg to be shorter than the other. Alina originally went to the shelter looking for a guinea pig, but one look at Winchester and it was love at first sight. From that day on, Alina has dedicated her life to learning everything she can about bearded dragons. She loves helping new beardie parents start their incredible journey with these magnificent reptiles.
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