Hong Kong kills 2000 hamsters: I feel sorry for the little rodents

Status: 01/19/2022 2:02 p.m

2,000 hamsters and other small animals are being culled in Hong Kong. The reason: Eleven hamsters tested positive for Corona. The action triggered a wave of solidarity for the little rodents.

By Benjamin Eyssel, ARD Studio Beijing

Suddenly everyone in Hong Kong is talking about hamsters. Many post pictures of the rodents online. But many people also make fun of the authorities in the Chinese special administrative region, which have decided to kill around 2,000 hamsters to protect against Covid-19.

Benjamin Eyssel
ARD-Studio Peking

Animal rights activists are outraged and are calling for the rodents to be saved. In chat groups, thousands agreed to adopt hamsters if owners feared Corona and wanted to get rid of their pets. Many small pet shops in Hong Kong have closed.

Risk of infection in pets only theoretical

Vanessa Barrs is Professor of Pet Health at the University of Hong Kong. She told Reuters news agency that killing the hamsters in pet stores was appropriate in the interests of public health.

But the situation at home is very different, says Barrs. “Millions of people around the world have contracted the coronavirus, millions have pets at home and there is no proven case of a pet having infected a human. The risk is theoretical, but it just doesn’t happen.”

Hamsters apparently came from the Netherlands

Yesterday it became known that an employee at a Hong Kong pet shop had tested positive for the delta variant of the corona virus – as well as a customer and eleven hamsters. Around 2000 hamsters and other small animals from several pet shops should therefore be killed.

The affected animals were therefore imported from the Netherlands. The import of hamsters has been banned. The Hong Kong health authority has quarantined around 150 customers of the affected store and more than 20 employees.

Hong Kong, like mainland China, has a strict zero-Covid policy. However, the number of cases in the Chinese special administrative region has recently increased significantly – partly because the highly contagious omicron variant is spreading very quickly.

After the hamster killing campaign: Solidarity and outrage in Hong Kong

Benjamin Eyssel, ARD Beijing, 19.1.2022 · 13:14


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