Sunday, October 30, 2011

Animal welfare and rights are not mere gestures

Since the last General Election (GE), it seems that all of a sudden, everyone in the establishment have come out all guns-blazing in support of animal welfare and rights.

The Prime Minister went out of this way to enquire about a stray dog (and perhaps through that enquiry saved it from being killed). The Law and Foreign Affairs Minister saved not one, but all the cats in his constituency from being culled. A faction of the labour movement (which is headed by a Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office) co-organised a concert with an animal rights NGO to save the dolphins.

Wow! Amazing!

But wait a minute. Who placed size restrictions of dogs allowed in Housing and Development Board (HDB) flats? Who forbids cats from being kept in HDB apartments? Who approved the import of dolphins by Resorts World Sentosa?

At least since 2007, dog lovers have called on the government to lift the size restrictions of dogs allowed in HDB flats (see HERE). At least since 2005, the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) has recommended to the government that cats be allowed in HDB flats (see HERE). At least since 2003, ACRES has championed the plight of captive dolphins to the government (see HERE). But have they listened?

It seems that those that are in the establishment are so spooked by the last GE and the image of the PAP (and linked establishments) as being aloof and arrogant, that they are now seeking ways to soften this image. And what better way to soften your image then by showing that you are sympathetic to creatures that have mouths that do not speak the human language?

Those that have been elected to govern the country, should now come out of the ‘GE-mode’ and stop trying to be popular for the sake of being so; and concentrate on making appropriate policies to run the country.

Yes, we need responsible policies for the animal welfare and rights, but such policies will not come about through rhetoric or gestures alone. They have to be formulated and implemented by the government that is elected.

“The human spirit is not dead. It lives on in secret…. It has come to believe that compassion, in which all ethics must take root, can only attain its full breadth and depth if it embraces all living creatures and does not limit itself to mankind.”

Albert Schweitzer, Nobel Peace Prize Winner

Cat Feeding Station

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Be consistent in conserving nature

Letter from Alfred Chia Yong Soong

AS WE celebrate the achievement of Bukit Timah Nature Reserve being declared as Singapore's second Asean Heritage Park, the first being Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, we must reflect, too, that dolphins caught from the wild will be performing soon at Resorts World Sentosa.

President Tony Tan had acknowledged that it was a privilege for Singapore to be recognised in the region for its nature conservation efforts.

Is it not ironic that as we embrace this new accolade, at the same time, we are condoning and allowing such wild creatures to be paraded for economic greed?

Many who object to this have raised their concerns and views, but it seems from RWS' letter "Marine life parks both educational and inspirational" (Oct 26) that it will go ahead with the venture.

Such stoicism on its part cannot go unchallenged and must be condemned by all who care genuinely for nature.

The Government, while accepting the endorsement bestowed on Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, must be seen to be consistent in nature conservation, lest we be miscontrued as conserving nature only on a selective basis.

Email to AVA's CEO Tan Poh Hong has gone unanswered.

Dear Ms Tan,

I am a member of the public and also an avid animal lover. As you are no doubt aware, there is currently a lot of buzz and negativity directed at AVA in the various social media groups about the current policy and stance towards stray dogs and cats. I am sure you are sick to the bone about hearing about how culling isn't the solution to the problem and whilst I agree with that, I believe there is no point in me rehashing the reasons why.

What I do take issue with is the manner in which animals are caught. Everyone is aware that AVA still engages Francis Lim despite having fined him for his cruel methods of animal entrapment Whilst you may think that Francis is effective in what he does, has AVA bothered to consider if the manner of doing so is acceptable. Various volunteers have on recent occasion intercepted Francis and AVA officers in their attempts to trap stray dogs. Some of these have been caught on video and are making its rounds across the web. Some of these also show AVA officers threatening members of the public.

Telling members of the public that feeding strays is illegal is misconceived. Telling members of the public they are not allowed to film AVA officers in action is also misconceived, for there is no law against filming someone in a public space. To have your AVA officers threaten members of the public on these grounds serves to reinforce the public's perception of AVA, that it is uncaring, non-transparent and very condescending towards the public.

Another point of contention is the inaction on the part of AVA in clear-cut animal abuse cases. We have not seen AVA lift a finger concerning the 2 puppies which were brutally killed at Bukit Batok. We have not seen AVA do anything about the pomeranian which was savagely bashed to death in a HDB estate, an act which was witnessed by the public. Where is AVA when you need them? Are the lives of stray dogs so meaningless, that they do not warrant protection? Should the same be said of vagrants living amongst us? Should the government find ways to get rid of them, so that the world at large would view us as a squeaky clean first world nation with no poverty and beggars?

To add insult to injury, well-meaning dog lovers and animal welfare groups have been scrambling to collect funds with one objective in mind, to free the strays caught by AVA, the same strays which these people are trying their very best to rehome. For the last few years, i've heard about the sort of charges involved in freeing just one animal. The costs are astronomical, especially when you consider and trace the background how how these funds came to be. AVA knows full well that these people aren't the owners, that the dogs and cats are strays. So why does AVA still insist on slapping fines for "straying" and for "having an unlicensed dog". If AVA wants to charge for licensing and boarding, I have no issue with this, but to impose fines for straying and having an unlicensed dog couple with GST is ludicrous especially when AVA knows full well these guys aren't the owners. This sort of behaviour on AVA's part probably disgusts me the most. It would appear to me that when AVA is not killing, it is "making a killing". I have attached a copy of a receipt issued by AVA last year for your information.

I lost faith in AVA many years ago and it appears that i'm not alone. This explains why there is an increasingly campaign against AVA amongst members of the public and the several animal welfare groups. If AVA is unable to show a committment towards doing the right thing and is unwilling to work with these groups and people, then you will see an increasing movement working against AVA. Perhaps we will never have the sort of resources AVA has, but we have the will, the tenacity and most importantly, the heart to do the right thing.

Yours truly,

Russel Low

不要屠殺!不要濫用「人道」毀滅對待我們! 你想生存,我們一樣希望可以生活!


Love not hate

Friday, October 28, 2011

Real Men are Kind to Animals

The above photo shows Obama with “Baby,” a three-legged dog that lost its fourth limb following years of mistreatment at a California puppy mill. The toy poodle spent much of its life locked in a small wire cage. The breeders cut out Baby’s vocal chords so that they would not have to hear her cries. In cages next to her, other dogs literally went insane, spinning repetitively with blank stares. Still others were gravely ill, maimed and had filthy, matted coats. A number was tattooed on the inside of Baby’s ear, marking her as just one of many dogs at the mill.
Barack Obama posed for this picture for Jana Kohl’s book A Rare Breed of Love. Obama has co-sponsored Dick Durbin’s Bill to crack down on abusive puppy mills, and has earned the first ever presidential endorsement from the Human Society

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A cat that was rescued 9 years ago when he was just 3 months of age

A very senior community cat called Tom-King

A very senior community cat called Tom-King as he used to terrorize the cats around here until he was trapped for neutering 7 years ago. He mellowed down a lot since he was conferred his eununchship. He is estimated to be 8-10 years of age.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Friday, October 21, 2011

Swim at RWS or in the ocean?

Swim at RWS or in the ocean?
Letter from Christina Lee Jiawei Campaigns Officer, Animal Concerns Research & Education Society
I REFER to the letter "We should support RWS' Marine Life Park" (Oct 18), whose main theme was about "choice" and which suggested that, if given a choice, Singaporeans would choose a small but safe flat instead of a large country estate.

The reality for the Resorts World Sentosa dolphins is that they had no choice. They were removed from their natural habitat and will be confined against their will.

They have lost control over their lives, from what and when they eat to whom they socialise with and where.

The Animal Concerns Research & Education Society doubts that any Singaporean would want the lives these dolphins are now living.

Captive dolphins, in general, are not "choosing" to interact with humans during contact sessions or to perform certain behaviours on demand but instead are often doing so to get fed.

Yes, they could choose to go hungry, but most animals will avoid hunger at all costs, and a hungry dolphin will do just about anything for a fish, even a dead, frozen one.

While it is true that wild dolphins may not enjoy a carefree life, they do enjoy freedom and choice.

With regard to conservation, we agree it is vital, but we cannot agree that catching dolphins from the wild is supporting these efforts.

According to the World Conservation Union (IUCN), the threats facing Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins (the species purchased by RWS) include live capture for oceanariums.

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) does allow the capture of dolphins from the wild.

However, according to the IUCN, catching more dolphins such as the Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin, which is preferred as a captive, display species, "makes them vulnerable to depletion from such catches".

The IUCN states that exports of this species should not take place from the Solomon Islands and that "CITES parties should not issue permits to import dolphins" from these islands.

How then can RWS claim to be protecting these dolphins while contributing to one of their threats to survival in the Solomon Islands?

Over 680,000 people have joined ACRES to urge RWS to release the dolphins. Our challenge to RWS is simple, and it leaves the decision to the dolphins.

If it believes that its remaining 25 dolphins are happy in their current situation, then ACRES asks that RWS gives the dolphins a chance to swim freely again in the ocean.

If they truly wish to remain living with their trainers and in captivity, then surely they will not swim away but remain with the trainers. Will RWS agree to this challenge?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Life As a Stray

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Life As a Stray

Life As a Stray

The following video was produced by
St. Anthony's Canossian Secondary School
Dedicated to our Street Dogs

Many of us would love to give our Singapore Specials a place to call home - unfortunately, due to HDB* guidelines this is not possible.

We hope that one day the authorities will change the guidelines and allow our Singapore Sepcials to stay in our HDB apartments.

We are Responsible Pet Owners, we train our dogs to listen, to obey and to respect our community and neighbours.

If the authorities give Pet Owners a chance to let our Singapore Specials stay in HDB apartments, we promise that our dogs will not be a nuisance to our neighbours and our dogs will help us to guard and protect our home, family and neighbours.

When a street dog is given a chance to stay in an our HDB apartment - there will be less strays on the streets.


The black puppy without a tail that you saw in the video is Venus.

Special Thanks To
Ms Melanie Martens
Ms Chia Sui Yoon
Mrs Martens
Secret Garden
and the following students who have made the video possible:
Juliana Chia
Janine Loi
Lim Yu Ning
Cherie Zheng

HDB = Housing and Development Board

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Beautiful community cats in the East

Published on Oct 18, 2011

MR PAUL Chan called for the culling of monkeys as a punishment for misbehaviour ('Cull monkeys if over-population is the problem'; Oct 10).

While it is important for wild animals to keep their distance, Mr Chan's sentiments do not consider the complexities of the problem.

Although culling is often a necessary part of managing human-wildlife conflict, it should be used as a last resort. Its biggest flaw is that it is a temporary measure. Rather, one should ask why these monkeys have turned so bold in the first place. And that boils down to people who deliberately feed them.

Despite the abundance of garbage bins, a great deal of littering occurs in our parks. Much of the trash consists of food wrappers and packaging, which only allows monkeys to discover that human food is tasty and should be sought out.

Culling will not offer a permanent answer. There must be greater enforcement against people who ignore the rules and continue feeding the monkeys. Garbage bin design must be improved to prevent monkeys from accessing their contents.

The greatest tool is education. Park visitors must behave responsibly to minimise the risk of conflict. For example, as many monkeys now associate plastic bags with food, one should conceal food and drinks.

When eating within the park, check that there are no monkeys watching, and finish a meal quickly. The forest is not a place for a leisurely picnic.

Keep a respectable distance between oneself and a monkey. All too often, a crowd will gather around a monkey to take photos and approach it while talking loudly, hollering to their companions or squealing in delight.

Should a monkey get up and approach a person, the best course of action is to walk away slowly and calmly.

The parks and forests are not solely for our enjoyment; they are the habitats of a great number of species, and we must know that we are encroaching on the monkeys' domain rather than the other way round.

We must be pragmatic and accept that occasional clashes between man and monkey cannot be eliminated without the total eradication of either species.

Ultimately, resolving human-wildlife conflict is more about altering human behaviour and attitudes than it is about reducing the risk of attack by wild animals.

Ivan Kwan

Monday, October 17, 2011

How many cats have been killed by the town councils over complaints of cats urinating in public areas.

Obvious human urine in this lift!

This morning, I witnessed a middle-aged man urinating onto a trash bin at 11.30am!

If there are community cats nearby, they can be blamed for the urine stench. All it takes is one complaint to the town council and the pest controller will be activated to "remove" the cats in the vicinity of the urine stench! The docile cats will be "sitting ducks" for the pest controllers!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The passing away of a school cat called Panther-1

(Photo of Panther-2 taken on 2nd October last year)
He was an adult cat when he was trapped outside a primary school, for neutering and later released back with a left clipped ear, about 6-7 years ago.
He became a well loved cat, sitting or lying on the cement floor at the back gate of the school, welcoming kids and some kids, especially Malays, would squat and "sayang" him.
He was also well loved by some residents who live in the HDB block of flats besides the school, giving him food at the back gate.
Hence it was unusual for him not to appear at the back-gate for a week.
A caregiver contacted one of the school's workers and he said that Panther-1 was unwell and became progressively weaker until he stopped eating and couldn't move.
He was found dead by a gardener on the 9th of October 2011.
He will be much missed by staff and students of the school.

AVA officer culling strays in Punggol

Resident spotted a big dog trap cage on the big field located near Blk637A Punggol Drive on 13 October 2011. It had chicken drumstick in the cage to attract the poor hungry stray. The cage is big enough for any young kids to enter.Resident then witnessed how the door of the cage suddenly shut down by itself with a loud thud.The door is very heavy and is very dangerous if any kids go near it. Resident then saw AVA officer and cleaner went to pull up the door of the cage. Concerned resident went up to find out more from the AVA officer but was threatened instead. AVA officer was very hostile and threatened to call police and LTA.AVA officer refused to answer any of the questions by the resident. This is totally inhumane to cull the strays...why they are so hostile if there's nothing to hide?

"An animal lover, Mr Khaw said in his post that he has pets and - 'to walk the talk' - is a vegetarian to boot."

No beings are culled for this but cats are culled for littering from irresponsible cat feeders

Review and adopt best practices in animal welfare

Letter from Anita Chew Yoke Mui

ALTHOUGH culling is the primary measure in Singapore to control and prevent a rabies outbreak, it is no longer considered an effective method of control by international standards.

As documented in the World Health Organization report "Strategies for the control and elimination of rabies in Asia", many of our neighbouring countries practise rabies vaccination as a primary means of control and prevention.

Progressive states in America as well as Asia, such as Thailand and Sri Lanka, are adopting the trap-sterilise-release method of control. However, this is not considered seriously enough in Singapore.

The authorities here should also be more aggressive in promoting responsible pet ownership and adoption through the mass media, besides holding roadshows.

Over the years, there have been more animal abandonment cases and the number is expected to rise further in an economic downturn. A more holistic approach is required. A good suggestion would be to learn from SeaWorld San Diego's animal conservation movement. Its Pets Rule show features a cast of rescued animals, including dogs and cats.

The show promotes pet adoption, whereby its animal stars are put up for adoption to the public when they retire from show business, and a new batch from animal shelters are trained to replace them. So what better way for our tourist icon, the Singapore Zoo, to lead the way than by advocating pet adoption through its Animal Friends Show?

Our education system could also incorporate a module on responsible pet ownership for primary schools and wider animal welfare issues in secondary schools. This could go beyond classroom discussions to excursions to animal clinics and animal shelters.

Finally, we need to enforce relevant legislation that will impose realistically punitive penalties on indiscriminate breeders and pet owners who unleash cruelty on their pets.

Critical measures would be to give the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals full authority to carry out investigations into alleged abuse cases as well as the establishment of an Animal Police Force as they have in America.

A move towards more humane animal welfare and control, and societal engagement on this issue, can happen first and foremost with a change in governmental attitude and policies. The pace of progress should not be held hostage to the notion that Singapore's animal welfare system is already better than in less developed nations.

We urge the authorities to work with non-governmental organisations and animal activists to provide synergy for change.

Please stop the culling

Letter from Aria Sim Shyuen

My family and I feed the stray dogs at Lorong Halus Wetland, which are gradually being caught and culled by the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority despite the outcry from animal welfare groups and feeders' best efforts.

Singapore has a framework in place to prevent animal cruelty, such as investigating and charging offenders. However, the AVA uses inhumane methods to trap and cull stray dogs, such as electrocution, painful traps and nooses. Is this not animal abuse?

More people are becoming concerned and outspoken about cases of animal abuse. Well, stray dogs are animals, too, and deserve the same proper treatment accorded to pets.

I have heard people say that feeding strays is socially irresponsible because it leads to breeding. This is not true. Breeding occurs because some strays are not sterilised.

However, the solution is not culling. It is catching, sterilising and releasing as well as possibly re-homing the puppies. This is the most humane way to handle our stray dog population.

I would also dispel doubts that stray dogs attack passers-by. My family has been feeding strays at Lorong Halus for the last six months, and these dogs have been nothing but amiable, albeit hesitant and afraid of humans.

Other dog feeders have not observed any attack on passers-by or cyclists, either. It is not based on bias that we defend our dogs but based on fact. Ignorance and prejudice continues to be meted out against these animals.

Finally, I would highlight that for every complaint by an uncompassionate member of the public that leads to stray dogs being culled, there are hundreds of people speaking out against the culling. Why are our voices not being heard?

Celebrity Karen Mok and Minister of State BG(NS) Tan Chuan-Jin appeal to Singaporeans to support Spay Day

Singapore --- Celebrity Karen Mok, an avid cat lover and renowned animal welfare ambassador and BG(NS) Tan Chuan-Jin, Minister of State Ministry of National Development and Ministry of Manpower have both taken up the invitation from Cat Welfare Society (CWS) to endorse its annual Spay Day on October 28, 2011. CWS has been holding the annual Spay Day since 2006 when for one day a year, CWS provides free sterilisation for community cats to encourage more people who care to do their part for their communities.

Karen sends a message of appeal to Singaporeans for their support in helping to save animal lives by spaying their pet or neighbourhood cats, and to control the stray population in a humane way.

She said: “Since I was very young, my family has always tended to rescue abandoned cats on the streets. We have adopted more than 15 cats over the years and they have always been a treasured part of our family. When we make a decision to make a cat our pet, we have to remember that we become our cat’s whole life. As a pet owner, we have some critical responsibilities --- to keep our cats indoors, sterilise them, give them a secure living environment, spend time with them and never abandon your pet cat.

“Around the world, pet abandonment and the resulting breeding is the biggest contributor to the stray cat population. Cat owners who do not sterilize their pets and let them roam also add to the problem. Culling does not address the source of the issue – only education on responsible pet ownership and sterilisation can effectively and sustainably control the community cat population in the long run and maintain community harmony.

“Spay Day is an established and well accepted movement in many communities around the world, from the developed societies in North America and Europe to the developing world in Asia and Africa. It is heartening to see this movement increasingly garner support in the Singapore community.”

BG(NS) Tan also expresses his support for CWS Spay Day: “I commend the Cat Welfare Society for the annual Spay Day initiative. Animal lovers and caregivers should work with CWS to sterilise stray cats and manage them responsibly for the sake of community harmony and animal welfare. Cat owners should also be responsible by getting their pet cats sterilised and keeping them confined within their premises.”

Fareena Omar, President of the Cat Welfare Society says: “We thank Karen and BG(NS) Tan for their support and encouragement in our movement to promote a humane, responsible and informed society in Singapore. A single pair of breeding cats and their offspring can produce 325 cats in two years. For as little as SGD 70, a pair of male and female cats can be sterilized. Spay Day can go a long way in preventing the unnecessary births and deaths of tens and thousands of cats. Last year, 286 community cats were sterilised on Spay Day 2010 -- that is 286 lives improved and thousands of unwanted animals prevented. This year CWS has set the goal of sterilising 300 community cats. We need our community’s support to help us achieve this goal.

“In total, last year around 3,200 cats were sterilised through CWS Spay Day and our ongoing sterilisation reimbursement scheme – a 53% increase from 2009. According to official statistics, the number of cats culled last year fell to an all-time low of 5,100. The figure is a stark comparison to the average of 10,000 cats culled per year prior to 2004 -- that is one cat killed every hour. This is strong testament to the fact that the community cat sterilisation program is the most effective and humane way of controlling stray cat population. Sterilization remains the main focus of CWS’ mission – last year, 77% of our funds raised last year were spent on the community cat sterilization program.”

How to support Spay Day 2011
CWS fully funds the sterilisations on Spay Day through the public donations it receives, and is supported by 28 participating veterinary clinics that provide CWS stray (discounted) surgery rates. Members of the community can support CWS Spay Day by donating through CWS website or via AXS machines. Community cat caregivers can also apply for a maximum of three sterilisation slots for their neighbourhood cats (maximum one female cat) on a first come first serve basis.

Among her many philanthropic engagements, Karen has been a champion of international animal welfare protection for many years. She has been the Ambassador for the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Hong Kong) since 2002 as well as the Ambassador for Animals Asia Fund “China Bear Rescue” since 2003. For more info,

For further information:
Cat Welfare Society: Edna Lam,

About Cat Welfare Society
Cat Welfare Society is a volunteer-run registered charity in Singapore since 2004. It aims to promote a humane, responsible and informed society in Singapore where cats are cared for responsibly as pets and treated with kindness as community cats. The Society also actively promotes sterilisation as a vital personal responsibility of a cat owner and an effective means to control our community cat population, instead of destruction.

Cat Welfare Society helps people who care and want to sterilise community cats to halt the cycle of breeding and destruction. Through a panel of veterinarian clinics in Singapore that support stray welfare, it is able to offer affordable rates to encourage more people to do their part.

These caring individuals further enjoy a rebate through the Society’s reimbursement scheme. Through the reimbursement scheme, around 300 cats are sterilised every month. That is 300 lives improved and thousands of unwanted animals prevented. Communities live harmoniously with community cats through mediation, education and problem solving.

Our main programmes include:

Annual Spay Day
One day a year, the Society provides free sterilisation for community cats. In 2010, a record of 286 were sterilised during Spay Day. We plan to sterilise 300 cats on Spay Day 2011 on 28 October.

Sterilisation Reimbursement Scheme
The Society work with vet clinics around Singapore to provide stray sterilisation rates at lower rates to encourage more people to help community cats. CWS members also enjoy a reimbursement of $20 for every cat that they sterilised in one month and $30 for every 5th cat onwards. Through this scheme, more than 3,000 cats were sterilised last year. That is thousands of unwanted litter prevented, contributing to the lowest culling rate achieved in 2010.

Public Education
The Society also creates opportunities to reach out to Singaporeans on pertinent issues like responsible pet ownership, animal abuse and humane treatment of community cats through public events and campaigns.


How to register your cats for Spay Day 2011

Step 1:
Download the Spay Day consent form here. English Version | Chinese Version (right click and save)
To access the file, you will need a PDF reader, which can be downloaded for free at Adobe's website.

Step 2:
Print out the form.

Step 3:
Fill out the details on the form.

Step 4:
Mail it back to us at:
Cat Welfare Society (Spay Day)
Orchard Road P.O. Box 65, Singapore 912303

Registration closed. For extensions, please email


Donate to Spay Day 2011 to help us reach our target of 300 cats this year!