Second Singapore Animal Welfare Forum

I was not able to attend the forum and the below is an excerpt from todayonline.com published on 26 February 2012.

It appears that there has been good progress made following issues raised in the inaugural forum last year. Well done and keep up the good work everyone!

Commencement of Article: 

04:46 AM Feb 26, 2012

SINGAPORE – As animal lovers and Government agencies gathered yesterday at a public forum to discuss animal welfare, several proposals were revealed to be under consideration by the Government to better safeguard animal welfare.

Among them is the setting up a National Adoption Centre for animals, a recommendation the Government is “supportive” of, to be managed by the Animal Lovers League (ALL) and Action for Singapore Dogs (ASD).

Speaking at the Singapore Animal Welfare Symposium held yesterday – which drew some 600 participants and guest-of-honour Law Minister K Shanmugam – Animal Concerns Research & Education Society (ACRES) executive director Louis Ng said such a dedicated community facility would “support and encourage adoption in a way that benefits the animals and the community”.

“Many animal shelters at the moment are full,” Mr Ng said. “We hope this shelter can expand capacity, and also allow various groups to come together and share resources more efficiently.”

Parliamentarians too are getting into the act, with Government Parliamentary Committee (GPC) for National Development member Yeo Guat Kwang announcing on the sidelines of the forum that the GPC will be setting up a work-group to review and update animal welfare policies in Singapore.

This has been prompted by the growing wave of feedback on animal issues.”As MPs … we receive feedback from (HDB) residents where they have disputes with neighbours because of some noise nuisance created by pet owners,” Mr Yeo told Channel NewsAsia.

“It’s good that now we get relevant agencies and animal welfare groups to come together and see what we can do to address these concerns residents have.” He added that it was important to include all other stakeholders, such as town councils and pet traders, to effectively address the issues of pet abandonment and strays.

MEASURES TO TRACK ERRANT OWNERS
Other proposals cited yesterday include the AVA looking into mandating all pet shops and farms to license dogs at the point of sale. “This will make it easier to track down errant owners when we find abandoned dogs,” said Action for Singapore Dogs president Ricky Yeo, speaking to Today.

A national microchip database will be established to enable better tracking of information and owners of abandoned pets.

Also being considered by the AVA is a licensing requirement for individual commercial breeders instead of the current blanket license to the main farm owner, to address the issue of “puppy mills”. And in response to recommendations from animal welfare groups, the AVA is looking into arrangements for such groups to accompany AVA officers during inspections of dog farms.

ACRES is also calling for more feedback on possible amendments for AVA’s review of the Animals and Birds Act to further strengthen animal protection legislation.

ASD’s Mr Yeo said the idea of a National Adoption Centre was mooted in hopes of easing the cost burden of non-profits. “Operating costs are high because we pay commercial rentals,” he said. “The centre allows some of us to pool resources and facilities, while also providing a platform for public education on responsible pet ownership.”

Ms Lee Siew Ying, who shelters some 100 cats and a few dogs at her refuge MettaCats, said such a centre might be useful for some, but felt it was unnecessary for all shelters to move towards consolidation. “I get to be very hands-on with my shelter … I can be very strict with every person who comes in wanting to adopt a cat. I require a home visit for every adoption.

“With my own facilities, I’m not in a hurry to find the cats a home.”

FATE OF ARMY, POLICE DOGS
On concerns over the fate of Singapore Armed Forces and Singapore Police Force service dogs, ACRES’ Louis Ng said military dogs not adopted after retirement will be cared for at the SAF kennels for the rest of their lives, and not be put to sleep as thought by many. The SPF too holds adoption drives and works closely with groups like Gentle Paws to ensure that all dogs suitable for adoption are rehomed.

MANAGING MACAQUES
The National Parks Board is working with the AVA to consider alternative population management control measures for macaques in parks besides culling, such as sterilisation, said Mr Ng. Concerns arose after media reports of attacks by macaques on park visitors quoted some members of the public calling for culling.

HUMANE CAPTURE OF STRAYS
The AVA is not using the services of dog catcher Francis Lee, who was last year fined for the death of a dog that was strangled after being caught in a noose trap, Mr Ng clarified. Mr Lee’s had dog-catching methods come under fire from animal lovers. Mr Ng noted that the AVA, with the SPCA, has set out guidelines on the humane capture of strays, which the animal control firms it engages must comply with. The guidelines will be published on its website.

End of Article

By: Daisy Chee

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About Daisy Chee

Daisy Chee is relentlessly curious. This site serves as a record of her discoveries or inspiration and, at times, a vehicle to effect societal change. Animal welfare is a particular interest.
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