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As the clutches of COVID-19 continue to claim lives around the world, more and more animals are also falling victim to the virus. Just this week, eleven hamsters were seized from a pet store in Hong Kong amid an outbreak of the disease.
All will be killed, but the total death toll will now be in the thousands.
Hamsters killed in Hong Kong pet store
Around 2,000 other hamsters and small mammals in the store will be culled in an effort to stop the spread.
And anyone who bought an animal from the store in the last four weeks must turn in their pet to be killed.
According to BBC, authorities broke the news last week after a Little Boss store employee tested positive for the Delta variant. This prompted the testing of hundreds of animals kept there.
It is understood that the animals contracted the virus from the worker.
Infected animals in 34 stores must be killed as a “preventive measure”. Officials add that the animals will be killed “humanely”.
At a press conference, Hong Kong agriculture department director Leung Siu-fai called on pet owners to beg for “good hygiene practice”.
This includes washing hands after touching animals or handling their food. And, to avoid kissing them.
Thousands call for hamsters to be saved
In the midst of the current situation, a petition has emerged to try to save the hamsters. As of this writing, more than 36,100 people are calling on the government to stop “unlawful” euthanasia.
“Every pet owner knows that their pet’s life is just as important as their own.
“Yet the Hong Kong government fails to see that they, the very defenders of the law, are on the dangerous path of murdering many lives that are little different from our own,” it read.
He continues: “Just like humans, these pets could be quarantined and isolated rather than killed without mercy. Yet authorities insisted on trading more than 2,000 lives in the name of “public health needs.”
You can sign the petition here