Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Rethink shooting of crows (http://www.todayonline.com/Voices/EDC090727-0000026/Rethink-shooting-of-crows)
05:55 AM Jul 27, 2009
Letter from Bhaskaran Kunju
I WRITE with regard to the culling of crows as carried out by the National Environment Agency (NEA). I live in an HDB estate in the northern part of Singapore where the culling of crows is carried out about once a month. The amount of noise the gunshots generate is enough to startle anyone, especially since no warning or notice is given beforehand.
There are a number of schools in the vicinity. Culling has even been carried out directly in front of a primary school, while school children were on their way home.
While the shooter may be a marksman, I find it discomforting that the NEA has allowed firearms to be used in such locations.
The culling process was started in the 1980s to reduce the crow population. I strongly believe that the numbers have dropped significantly given the culling process and our rapid urbanisation.
It is time the NEA reconsider the status of crows as pests. Apart from the population numbers, which the NEA should make public to justify its actions, the other contributing factors for the culling have been the supposed noise from the birds and their being scavengers. Crows, however, are not the only scavengers. Any bird that becomes accustomed to living in densely-populated areas with few natural preys resorts to scavenging.
It is common to see sparrows and mynahs eating the leftovers in eateries and leaving behind their droppings. Is this not also a nuisance and unhygienic?
In addition, crows do not breed as much as has been mistakenly repeated. They brood once a year and only an average of three eggs are hatched successfully. In comparison, pigeons brood as many as eight times a year.
We should also not be paranoid about the possible spread of bird flu, which is more likely to be spread by migratory birds. Pigeons are known to spread diseases as well.
I am not asking the NEA to switch its culling focus to other intrusive birds but pointing out the flawed rationality in its programme. If the issue is about aggressiveness or incessant noise, then the NEA should only act on such instances of disturbances.
I do not wish to launch into a plea of humanity against the killing of animals but it is indeed inhumane to be shooting birds when alternative methods are available to deal with them. One method is for people to be more responsible in the disposal of trash and in the clearing of leftover food in eateries.
The real cause for the population explosion of birds, if any, are these food sources. Another alternative method is to install plastic owls to scare the crows away.
If the NEA is pressing on with its culling programme and the culling has not reduced the bird population, then obviously there is a fundamental flaw in its methodology.
I am also appalled that an annual crow- hunting competition is held by the Singapore Gun Club and endorsed by the NEA. This seriously goes against the very values of the NEA as an environmental-protection agency.
To support this urgent call to use alternative humane methods of reducing the crow population, write to TODAY at email@example.com with your name, address and contact number
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
"Last Tuesday: 22nd, June, I was told a certain coffee shop owner had spashed hot water onto a pregnant cat."
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
A very heart-warming story from Julie:
Dear Kah Yein
Often times, we do not understand how the nature or the call of things work. After I experienced the plight of the newborns as told in your blog in May, I came across another two newborns. This time it was a totally different story.
Last Tuesday: 22nd, June, I was told a certain coffee shop owner had spashed hot water onto a pregnant cat. We went off to look for the cat at a clear moonlight evening at about 11pm. To our surprise, the mother cat was found and with a little newborn kitten. We took her back and put her in the cage.
I checked in the morning and the mother cat was fine with the newborn. On the same evening, another kitten was born.
I named the mother cat Mooney, and two tiny kittens which is by now one week plus, Twinkle and Jingle.
I want to get Mooney spayed later . She is very tame, timid and really wants to be cuddled.
The two newborns are safe also. I am not sure if they are male or female. Their eyes are not opened yet.
Three of them will be up for adoption at the right time.
I will call you when I need your kind assistance.
We'd be more than happy to sponsor the spaying of Mooney and we also need everyone's help to get Mooney and her kittens adopted in about 2 months' time.
Here are their photos:
Sunday, June 27, 2010
Saturday, June 26, 2010
Meow-Meow suffered severe injury to her back as a result of abuse (a teenager kicked her in Holland Drive)in April this year, that resulted in paralysis of her hind limbs and difficulty in urination and defecation.
With acupuncture treatment, Meow-Meow was showing recovery in regaining the function of her hind limbs when she suffered a setup with a severe infection of the bladder (a common complication of paraplegics) that spread to her spine and her brain.
She pulled through a critical period.
Acupuncture was resumed as it is the only treatment now to give her some hope of recovery.
The elderly caregiver, Ah Heok, is taking care of Meow-Meow that includes regular compression of the lower abdomen to expel the urine and faeces.
Please help to lighten the financial burden on the caregiver by sponsoring the acupuncture sessions.
If you wish to observe and/or sponsor the acupuncture fees ($80 a session), send an email to Bee Leng at firstname.lastname@example.org
A cat that had its back feet severed by a combine harvester has been given two prosthetic limbs in a pioneering operation by a UK vet.
The new feet are custom-made implants that "peg" the ankle to the foot. They are bioengineered to mimic the way deer antler bone grows through the skin.
The operation - a world first - was carried out by Noel Fitzpatrick, a veterinary surgeon based in Surrey.
His work is explored in a BBC documentary called The Bionic Vet.
The cat, named Oscar, was referred to Mr Fitzpatrick by his local vet in Jersey, following the accident last October. Oscar was struck by the combine harvester whilst dozing in the sun.
The prosthetic pegs, called intraosseous transcutaneous amputation prosthetics (Itaps) were developed by a team from University College London led by Professor Gordon Blunn, who is head of UCL's Centre for Biomedical Engineering.
Professor Blunn and his team have worked in partnership with Mr Fitzpatrick to develop these weight-bearing implants, combining engineering mechanics with biology.
Mr Fitzpatrick explained: "The real revolution with Oscar is [that] we have put a piece of metal and a flange into which skin grows into an extremely tight bone."
"We have managed to get the bone and skin to grow into the implant and we have developed an 'exoprosthesis' that allows this implant to work as a see-saw on the bottom of an animal's limbs to give him effectively normal gait."
Professor Blunn told BBC News the idea was initially developed for patients with amputations who have a "stump socket".
"This means they fix their artifical limb with a sock, which fits over the stump. In a lot of cases this is sucessful, but you [often] get rubbing and pressure sores."
The Itap technology is being tested in humans and has already been used to create a prosthetic for a woman who lost her arm in the July 2005 London bombings.
"The intriguing thing with Oscar was that he had two implants - one in each back leg, and in quite an unusual site," Professor Blunn told BBC News.
He said that the success of this operation showed the potential of the technology.
"Noel has some brilliant ideas," he added. "And we're continuing to work closely with him to develop new technologies."
The Bionic Vet is on BBC 1 at 2245 BST on Wednesday
Friday, June 25, 2010
Thursday, June 24, 2010
The Electric New Paper :
STRAY ANIMALS & ABANDONED PETS
Ugly fights over helpless strays
24 June 2010
ONE recent evening, I received a distressing SMS from a friend in Tampines.
As she was waiting for a few cats in the community (all neutered) to finish the food she had laid out for them so that she could clear the leftovers, a man and a young boy walked by.
The boy stamped his feet at the cats, while the man started to scold my friend for feeding them. This escalated into verbal abuse, where the man threatened to get the town council to get rid of the animals.
The police were called and he admitted to the officer that he hated cats.
Like my friend in Tampines, I, too, am a caregiver to cats in my neighbourhood.
People who dislike cats blame their presence on cat lovers such as my friend and I.
With alarming incidents of cat abuse - a limping kitten with its ear stapled spotted in Yishun and a man who was seen repeatedly kicking a cat at a Commonwealth Close carpark because 'the cat scared my wife and kid' - why would we cat lovers want MORE cats?
In fact, we want FEWER cats, and we are putting in our effort, time and money to achieve this through a humane and effective way - sterilisation.
Cats bearing a left 'tipped ear' (a horizontal surgical cut carried out when the animal is anaesthetised for neutering) can be seen all around Singapore. This is the result of active citizenry.
Repeated appeals to the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) to assist caregivers with free sterilisation of these animals have fallen on deaf ears.
Yet the AVA continues to offer free killing of the creatures caught in traps loaned to private property owners.
Once more, I appeal to the AVA to open their veterinary facilities for people to bring in community cats for sterilisation.
Both cat haters and cat lovers will be pleased with a faster reduction in the number of these animals on the streets.
READER TAN CHEK WEE
The Electric New Paper :
Renting pets may do more harm than good
I REFER to the letter, 'Reduce number of abandoned animals by renting out pets', by your reader Ace Kindred Cheong (The New Paper, June 21).
24 June 2010
The Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) appreciates that the writer is an animal lover and means well. However, the practice of renting out pets by pet shops could take its toll on the animals.
The SPCA objects to the rental of pets whether it involves an owned pet or an animal in a shelter. We believe that there would be welfare issues for any pet that is passed around repeatedly.
This is because there would be varying expectations of the pets from every household and inconsistent levels of treatment by those renting the animal.
Inexperienced care can also lead to problems such as stress because the animals have to adapt to new and unfamiliar environments and people. Stress could, in turn, bring about illness.
Mr Cheong is correct to say that there are many children who would like to own a pet, but parents may be against the idea. The SPCA engages in public education by hosting school visits at our animal shelter where children can interact with the animals and learn about care and compassion.
The society also encourages parents to take their children to the shelter so that the children can learn to develop a bond with the animals. As part of the June holiday activities, we organised a 'Cats are Purrfect' Camp for Youth (aged 11 to 16 years), where they learned how to care for a cat.
We would like to thank Mr Cheong for his care for the animals and for taking the time to suggest possible solutions for abandoned ones.
Owning a pet is a lifetime commitment. SPCA advises that potential pet owners read up on the various breeds, their care and requirements, or to learn from friends who are experienced pet owners. More information on pet care and responsibility can be found at www.spca.org.sg
SOCIETY FOR THE PREVENTION OF CRUELTY TO ANIMALS
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Monday, June 21, 2010
Forget Internet Cafés. The newest rage in Japan is the Cat Café. For just $10 an hour, you can drop by and hang out with a cat. The concept has proved to be very popular in urban areas. The regular customers are mainly 20- and 30-somethings who seek healing by cats, or who simply cannot afford to have pets full time. Some visiters come to the Cat Café three times a week. These photos are from the Nekorobi Cat Café in Tokyo:
Watch the cats and patrons in action:
Sunday, June 20, 2010
CT: Went to the car park and I have confirmed that the cat abuser drives vehicle no. SJB3344J, a BMW 125i coupe. He had a brief talk. Said he hates cats and disapproves of people feeding them and that they are a nuisance and health hazard. He even said he could beat me up for confronting him over something that doesn't concern me. I have made a police report. The law will deal with him.
Saturday, June 19, 2010
Human woman assisting a child to urinate in a public area when a public toilet is just few metres away...
What does HDB got to say about this "nuisance"?
"Flat owners are not allowed to keep cats in HDB flat.............Nuisance caused by cats such as urinating in public areas......
Residents who volunteer to care for their neighbourhood's cats are called "caregivers".
They will trap cats and bring them to a vet for sterilisation.
The neutered cats with a surgical cut on their left ears are released back into the neighbourhood.
The caregivers continue to care for these cats by feeding them responsibly, i.e. not leaving any leftover cat food that will be considered as litter.
They will also provide assistance to the property officers of the town councils to resolve feedback about cats. Most if not all town councils's property officers are poorly equipped with knowledge about cats to provide effective solutions. The only "solution" that these officers can offer is what has been handed down by their precedessors, i.e. CULLING (this is really KILLING) that has been proven to be ineffective and a waste of public fund!
Most of the cats in Singapore are due to abandonment such as from the home of the kid in the above youtube video clip.
When caregivers are able to trace the source to abandonment to such homes, they will speak to the family to persuade them to neuter their cats and to keep the cats indoor by putting meshes on their window and door grills. Sometimes the caregivers even pay for the neutering and the purchase of the mesh.
Stubborn irresponsible cat owners are a nightmare to any caregiver as any "new" abandoned cat or kitten jeopardises a successful "cat management or TnRm". In such cases, the caregivers can seek help from the SPCA that will send an inspector to counsel such families. Sometimes an "official" visit can be effective.
As HDB bans cats, some HDB officers are not willing to help the caregivers to counsel such families. The property officers of the town councils are NOT able to help in such cases as cats within a flat is NOT with the purview of the town council. However if cats from such irresponsible cat owners are dumped out of their flats, then it becomes the problem of the town councils if any resident were to complain! The property officers will then pressurise the caregivers to resolve to cat problems to appease complainants!
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