The Japan Times
South China Morning Post
by Celine Sun
Jan 23, 2009
With the Year of the Ox about to begin, you might think cows roaming the
countryside will have it easy.
But for the 1,000-plus cows in Hong Kong, a life "retired" from the hard
work of farming continues to be a daily struggle - dodging speeding cars and
sidestepping sharp-edged rubbish.
There are about 900 cows and 125 buffaloes here, most of them roaming in the
west and north of the New Territories - Tsuen Wan, Tai Po and Sai Kung - and
Lantau Island, according to the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation
On Lantau Island, construction waste abandoned by roadsides has become a
minefield for wandering cows.
The Lantau Buffalo Association said an increasing number of cows have been
injured by rubbish that includes concrete, broken metal bars, plastic
sheets, wooden panels and nails.
"Such cases occur every month," said Ho Loy, director of the
animal-protection group. "Cows easily cut their hoofs and skin when
rummaging for food in places covered with such waste."
The danger will continue into the new lunar year, with many houses on the
island still being renovated, Ms Ho said.
Cows on the island are now protected, in an agreement the group reached with the government after years of lobbying.
The government had in the past culled animals that had damaged property or
been a nuisance to households. Now it refers people's complaints to the
association, which then works with residents to resolve the problem. The
group plans to sterilise all male cattle and buffalo over four years old by
mid year in an effort to keep their numbers stable.
"These animals have a right to exist in Hong Kong," Ms Ho said.
"They can be our good friends as long as we help them find a way to get
along with people and the environment. "
In Yuen Long, another cattle-lover has a challenge on her hands. Francesea
Au Yeung Chui-yee, who runs a rescue farm for wandering cattle, has had
trouble finding a new home for her 108 cows and buffaloes, most of which were saved from the slaughterhouse.
Since 2007, her cattle have suffered knife injuries and her water supply cut from time to time, she said. The perpetrators wanted the cattle moved, she said.
Ms Au Yeung has applied to the Lands Department for a new location for her farm, but has been rejected several times because residents near suggested new sites have objected to the cows' smell.
Meanwhile, more than 20 pieces of art featuring oxen were unveiled at an exhibition of the Chinese University of Hong Kong Art Museum yesterday.
The artworks, including paintings and stone carvings, date back to the Han
dynasty (206BC to AD9). The exhibition will run until March 29 but is closed
from this Sunday to next Wednesday.