The real challenge for Mak is not money but educating people, particularly adults, to treat animals well. He says he enjoys giving talks to schools because children and teenagers tend to be more open and have fewer preconceptions. But adults insist humans are masters of animals. They think animals need to obey us, yield to us, and are our subordinates or commodities. “It feels like talking to a wall,” says Mak.
Apart from providing treatment for animals and educating the public, NPV has advocated for a variety of animal rights and welfare. It has campaigned for the setting up of an animal police bureau, for the implementation of a scheme to capture, neuter and release animals that are living on the streets, and against the commercial breeding and trading of pets.
At times, it seems he encounters countless obstacles and setbacks in his mission as an animal rights activist. Ironically, some of the strongest opposition to NPV’s work comes from those who are most familiar with animals – vets from private veterinary clinics.
NPV’s prices are generally around 30 to 40 per cent cheaper than private clinics and Mak says this has put some private clinics out of business.
“Honestly, in this district, NPV is cheaper and b etter than the others, why would people still need to come to see [others]?” On the positive side, the increased competition forces others to improve their services.
Mak simply cannot ignore what he sees as the growing needs of animals, the hundreds of thousands of healthy animals that are euthanised every year and those that are tortured and abused on the streets and in pet stores.
But when asked about his ultimate aim, Mak’s wish sounds deceptively simple. “I want Hong Kong people to think, to evaluate their relationship with aimals, that’s all, since this is never on Hong Kong people’s agenda,” says Mak. For instance, he thinks the government should at least mention animals in the Policy Address. “[The government deems] your voice is not big enough, [it thinks] why should I answer your request?” Mak exclaims.
“If there’s no one in this entire society who thinks that they need to fight for the righteousness of animals, I can tell you that this is the most unbearable society,” says Mak.
Edited by Charlene Kwan