Hermit crab racing goes on at the Tikitiki Bowling Bar despite negative publicity and the protests of animal campaigners who say it is cruel. The Tikitiki promotes this objectionable practice on Facebook repeatedly and has apparently held a press event to publicise its management insensitivity and ignorance. Last Sunday they went live on Facebook with one of these events – see https://www.facebook.com/TikitikiBowlingBar/videos/1887491468172992/ They encourage the kids to place bets on which costume-clad crab will win.
SAI KUNG BUZZ has informed the SPCA, asking the deputy director for welfare, Dr Fiona Woodhouse, if she will send uniformed officers to explain to the numb-skulls that any creature that moves has to be sentient. Taking such creatures out of their natural environment will cause suffering. Perhaps SPCA officers will warn Tikitiki management of prosecution under Hong Kong’s animal cruelty prevention law.
Carol Biddell, a leader in animal welfare in Sai Kung and BUZZ Editorial Board member, said it is quite wrong to be teaching youngsters to treat wild creatures as playthings and not as animals to be respected and left alone. She said the crabs will have been picked up on beaches and will likely be dumped in rubbish bins when no longer wanted or sick or dead.
According to the international animal rights group PETA, hermit crabs in the wild can live for more than 30 years. In captivity they will die within months. Their care must be knowledgeable and painstaking otherwise they will die slow painful deaths. The creatures have modified gills that need high humidity if they are to be able to breathe. Deep damp sand is their home environment. Without it they cannot molt and will slowly die. The crabs also need lots of friends. They are sociable and like partying – with their own kind.