Proposals to Enhance Animal Welfare

Proposals to Enhance Animal Welfare

Proposals to Enhance Animal Welfare in Hong Kong


  • Animal welfare is about how an animal is coping with the conditions in which it lives. It encompasses an animal’s physical state, its mental state and its ability to fulfil its natural needs and desires.
  • The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Ordinance (Cap. 169) prohibits and punishes acts of cruelty towards animals but it does not specifically promote good welfare or provide guidance on how good welfare can be achieved.
  • Good animal welfare results not only from an absence of suffering, but also from the presence of positive experiences and sensations.
  • After reviewing the local situation and noting developments in some overseas places, we have identified a number of possible areas for improvement to bring the current legislation up-to-date to meet community expectations.

The Proposals

  1. To introduce a positive “Duty of Care”
    We propose to impose a positive “Duty of Care” on persons responsible for animals to provide for their welfare needs, empower a public officer to issue an improvement notice to the responsible person where the duty of care has not been fulfilled, and set an appropriate level of penalty for the contravention of the duty of care.To complement the duty of care, we propose to promulgate Codes of Practice (CoPs) for those types of animals which are commonly kept in Hong Kong, starting with pet animals as the first priority. CoPs will give practical guidance on how to provide for the welfare needs of animals to the extent required by good practice. For examples of good practice requirements to fulfil the welfare needs of different types of pets you may also visit the relevant sections of this website regarding proper care of dogs, cats, rabbits, etc.
  2. To enhance the provisions for the prevention of cruelty
    We propose to increase the maximum penalty for animal cruelty offences and empower the courts to disqualify a person convicted of an animal cruelty offence from keeping animals within a specified period of time or permanently.
  3. To enhance enforcement powers for safeguarding animal welfare
    We propose to provide public officers with the necessary powers of entry to premises and seizure of animals with a view to enhancing the protection of animals from suffering.

Public Consultation

Public consultation on the above proposals was held between 26 April and 31 July 2019. The public consultation period has now ended. Thank you for your comments. You can download the consultation document and feedback form for reference.

Way Forward

After examining the views received, we have reported the findings of the public consultation and the proposed way forward to the LegCo Panel on Food Safety and Environmental Hygiene in April 2020. Please refer to the panel paper for the details. Based on the comments received, we are preparing to draft legislative proposals to amend the Ordinance and will submit them to the Legislative Council for deliberation in due course.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Please click here for the FAQs of the proposal.