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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Raising Money for Birth Control in Hong Kong

I previously described how a Hong Kong organization partnered with student volunteers in Zhuhai, Guangdong province to distribute educational information about HIV/AIDS. During my recent stay in Hong Kong I learned about another organization there that engages student volunteers. While walking in a shopping district I met this middle school student who was collecting donations for a birth control method:

female middle school student in Hong Kong with flyers and a donation box

Although she was promoting birth control, unlike the students in Zhuhai she was not giving out free condoms. There is a simple reason for that--the birth control is for Hong Kong's stray cats and dogs. The girl was volunteering for the Hong Kong Cat Refuge (HKCR), and in addition to collecting donations she was handing out this flyer:

front of a Hong Kong Cat Refuge flyer for Animal Birth Control

back of a Hong Kong Cat Refuge flyer for Animal Birth Control

If you cannot read the text in the above images (click for larger versions), the  "About" section of the HKCR website provides this self-description:
We are a registered charitable animal organisation aiming at rescuing animals through ABC (Animal Birth Control). Since there are hundreds of thousands of animals abandoned , put down by AFCD [The Government of Hong Kong's Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department] and even tortured by people every year. It is believed that only ABC could help eliminate this problem block the breeding cycle and save millions of public finance as well as the principle of humane of "No Kill" could be achieved.
It describes their mission as:
1. Trap, neuter and rehome/ release stray cats and dogs
2. Help desex the cats and dogs that come into our care
3. Provide them with shelter and eventually a permanent home
4. Find a suitable and responsible family for the cats and dogs in our care
5. If needed, provide the cats and dogs with medical treatment by our ABC clinic
6. Educate the public of animal welfare, and the relationship between humans and animals
7. Educate and prevent animal cruelty
They are listed as a tax-exempt charitable institution by Hong Kong's Inland Revenue Department and it may be relevant that I saw the girl collecting donations on a Saturday--a Hong Kong government approved "Flag Day" for some forms of public fundraising (thanks to a Hong Kong friend for both of these points).

After reading the above pamphlets or the HKCR website, you will know what I know about them. I share this information because I am sympathetic to the HKCR's goals and the issue is certainly not limited to Hong Kong. I share my encounter with the young student because like the efforts I saw in Zhuhai it highlights how some young people in China are seeking ways to improve the world beyond their immediate environment.

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