Outrage is spreading online after several malls used live goats as attractions for their Chinese New Year celebrations this week.
Photos of the goats being confined and restrained in public began being shared online Sunday, eventually catching the attention of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) Hong Kong, who dispatched teams to investigate the treatment of the animals on Monday. A post shared by the SPCA regarding the treatment of the goats has since been shared more than 270 times, piling up over 130 comments.
According to the SPCA’s Rebecca Ngan, the events featuring the goats at the popular Times Square and apm, as well as a shopping centre at Yuen Long, concluded prior to the arrival of investigative teams.
Ngan said the SPCA’s concern is the transportation and mental condition of the animals prior to and during the events, especially since photos show the goats being tethered, dressed in costumes, and put on stage.
The SPCA, Ngan tells Localiiz, is also concerned that these events and others like them, disguise cruelty as education, conveying that it is alright to bring wild or undomesticated animals into urban environments that can cause incredible stress to the animals.
Ultimately, Ngan says, this is a public relations stunt that is both silly and cruel. The SPCA asks anyone considering hosting a similar event to use costumes or cartoons instead of live animals.
A representative for Times Square tells Localiiz, “Times Square understands the public cares about the well-being of animals and appreciate their views. We will take this into consideration when arranging future activities.”
The goats, the Times Square rep says, are from a farm in the New Territories, were provided with ample food and water during the activity, and were transported back to the farm right after the activity.
The apm event attempted to raise funds to benefit Medecins Sans Fronteires, however the nonprofit has since declined any funding from the event.