LCQ17: Control on the operation of livestock farms


Hong Kong (HKSAR) -      Following is a question by the Hon Steven Ho and a written reply by the Secretary for Food and Health, Professor Sophia Chan, in the Legislative Council today (November 29):

Question:

     Some farmers affected by planned developments in recent years have relayed to me that, due to the strict regulations imposed by a number of laws (including the Public Health (Animals and Birds) (Licensing of Livestock Keeping) Regulation (Cap. 139 sub. leg.

L) and the Waste Disposal Ordinance (Cap. 354)) on livestock farms, they have difficulties in identifying suitable sites for building new livestock farms or reprovisioning existing farms. It is also difficult for them to suitably increase the space and adopt more advance technology for livestock keeping (including enhancing biosecurity measures) through building new farms.

In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(1) of the distribution of those sites currently designated as (i) livestock waste prohibition areas, (ii) livestock waste control areas and (iii) livestock waste restriction areas (mark the locations and boundaries of such sites in different colours on a map); the respective numbers of (i) pig farms and (ii) chicken farms operating in those three types of areas in each of the past five years; the differences in respect of the restrictions (including the requirements and procedure regarding application for operating a livestock farm) imposed by the Government on the operation of livestock farms in those three types of areas;

(2) of the sites which are in compliance with the relevant provisions of the two aforesaid pieces of legislation and other relevant legislation and are available to farmers for building new livestock farms or reprovisioning existing farms, as well as the areas of such sites (mark the locations of such sites on a map);

(3) as farmers may, through the Agricultural Land Rehabilitation Scheme, identify sites for relocating their livestock farms, whether any farmers who had been affected by planned developments succeeded in identifying suitable sites for relocating their farms through the Scheme in the past three years; if so, of the details; if not, whether the Government has put in place new measures to help such farmers in reprovisioning their livestock farms and suitably expanding their farms to improve their livestock keeping technology; and

(4) whether it will, by making reference to the mode adopted by Macau of renting land on Hengqin Island from the Mainland authorities for its development, discuss with the Mainland authorities the renting of land or islands near Hong Kong for Hong Kong farmers to operate livestock farms and for other agriculture and fisheries related purposes; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?

Reply:

President,

     Having consulted the Environment Bureau, my reply to the various parts of the question is as follows:

(1) Under sections 15, 15A and 15AA of the Waste Disposal Ordinance (Cap. 354), Hong Kong is classified into three areas, namely Livestock Waste Prohibition, Control and Restriction Areas, as shown in Annex. Their control on the operation of livestock farms is generally as follows:

(i) urban areas of Hong Kong are Livestock Waste Prohibition Areas, where livestock keeping is banned; 

(ii) within Livestock Waste Control Areas, a livestock keeper must apply for licence from the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) and comply with the Waste Disposal (Livestock Waste) Regulations (Cap. 354A); and

(iii) within Livestock Waste Restriction Areas (i.e. parts of the New Territories and outlying islands), no livestock keeping is allowed, unless the relevant premises had been in use continuously for livestock keeping during the 12 months before 1994 and the livestock keeper holds a licence from the AFCD, or is authorised so to do by the Director of Environmental Protection, and the livestock keeping operation complies with the Waste Disposal (Livestock Waste) Regulations.

     Over the past five years, the numbers of licensed livestock farms in the three areas are as follows:
 
  Livestock Waste Prohibition Areas Livestock Waste Control Areas Livestock Waste Restriction Areas Total
  Pig farms Chicken farms Pig farms Chicken farms Pig farms Chicken farms
2013 0 0 42 27 1 3 73
2014 0 0 42 26 1 3 72
2015 0 0 42 26 1 3 72
2016 0 0 42 26 1 3 72
2017 0 0 42 26 1 3 72

(2) and (3) In the event that a licensed livestock farm is affected by Government development projects, the licensee may consider relocation.

The relocation site must fulfill the requirements under the aforementioned Waste Disposal Ordinance and the relevant regulations governing the handling of livestock waste; the Public Health (Animals and Birds) (Licensing of Livestock Keeping) Regulation (Cap. 139L) with regard to livestock keeping control, biosecurity, environmental protection, etc.; as well as the relevant legislation and regulations relating to planning and lands. Whether an individual site is suitable for relocation would be subject to its actual circumstances, and thus we do not have the information of sites and land area available for relocation of livestock farms. Since 2014, there has not been any relocation of livestock farm arising from Government development projects.

(4) The Government does not have any plan to take forward the relevant suggestion.

As a matter of fact, the relevant suggestion involves very complicated and sensitive considerations.



Published on: 2017-11-29

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