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CityU builds animal farm: $80m facility near Tai Po's Wishing Tree will house dozens of cows and sheep

Top News | Riley Chan Dec 7, 2017
City University of Hong Kong has secured a site in Tai Po to build a modernized farm for its vet school.

The 100,000-square-foot area at Ngau Kwu Leng, near the Wishing Tree in Lam Tsuen, cost about HK$80 million, a source from the College of Veterinary Medicine and Life Sciences told The Standard yesterday.

The farm will house dozens of cows and sheep to serve the educational needs of its students and interns.

But normal classes will not take place there, the source said.

The school will collaborate with other farms on pigs and chickens for teaching since they are plentiful in Hong Kong, he said.

"It will be a very modernized farm - just like a showcase," the source said.

The school has been looking for a suitable site for more than a year.

"We had to make sure there is vehicle access. Also it can't be near any beach or sea because the substances in the water may affect health of the animals," the source said.

It is expected it will take about a year before the farm is operational.

"The adding of the farm will complete the facilities the vet school has to offer, given that we already have an aquaculture farm, a new diagnostic laboratory and a small animal clinic, which is expected to be put into service by the end of next year," the source said.

The purchase came two weeks after the school received a HK$500 million one-off donation from the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust to build the Jockey Club One Health Tower, which will house the vet college.

Separately, the CityU vet school opened its first commercial veterinary diagnostic laboratory in Hong Kong on Monday.

Vets and clinics can send samples directly to the CityU lab at the Yeung Kin Man Academic Building.

It will take only one to four days to get the result, much shorter than the two weeks it took in the past when the sample had to be shipped overseas, said the college's dean and chair professor Michael Reichel.

There will be a post-mortem room in the lab.

Pet owners and farmers can request a post-mortem through their veterinary clinic if they want to find the cause of death of their animals or livestock.

The lab also houses a wide range of cutting-edge equipment, and can conduct advanced techniques including the staining of cancer cells for rapid animal cancer diagnosis, the latest and most advanced technology for bacteria and fungi identification and rapid pathogen identification using molecular methods.

Using the latest equipment, the new lab will be able to identify suitable and effective antibiotics to treat bacterial infection, and conduct full blood analysis on many animal species.

There are 26 staff members in the lab, which cost HK$25 million to set up.

The laboratory will be fully in commission in the second quarter of next year.

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