Thursday, March 31, 2011

AWSS shows promise for the future

SINGAPORE, 19 March 2011: The third annual Animal Welfare Symposium for Students organised by the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) Singapore was held at Ngee Ann Polytechnic to much excitement and significant success.

Attended by a packed auditorium of over 400 students and teachers from across Singapore, the audience was treated to informative talks by notable experts such as Mr Louis Ng, founder of Animal Concerns, Research & Education Society (ACRES), Ms Amy Corrigan, Education Director at ACRES, Dr George Jacobs, President of the Vegetarian Society (Singapore), Ms
Fareena Omar, President of the Cat Welfare Society (CWS), and Mr Jaipal Gill, Assistant Manager of Operations at SPCA.

The focus being to educate and inspire the young minds and hearts of today, the symposium incorporated interesting activities after each presentation which were well-received by the students. Notably, most students enjoyed the activity (above) following Dr Jacobs' presentation (below) that required them to draw 2 images - one of the typical perception of chickens on a farm (traditional farming) and the other of today's reality (factory farming). This visual representation produced by the students themselves struck home the seriousness and realness of the situation and impacted them greatly.

Farm Animals - Spare a Thought for Them by Dr George Jacobs

This year's installment also pushed the envelope a little by showcasing some actual video footage of the unsavoury practices involved in factory farming as well as the cruel method of force-feeding geese in order to produce foie gras.

The two Q&A sessions (videos, below) - one chaired by Mr Louis Ng, Ms Amy Corriganin and Dr George Jacobs and the other chaired by Mr Jaipal Gill and Ms Fareena Omar - also illustrated how the current young generation is more informed and aware of animal welfare. Students as young as 7 or 8 and up to the age of 17 posed sincere, in depth questions rather than just the novice questions.

Q&A with Ms Amy Corrigan, Mr Louis Ng & Dr George Jacobs

Q&A with Mr Jaipal Gill and Ms Fareena Omar

Similarly, many students took the effort to visit the booths set up by the organisations involved outside the auditorium (above, CWS booth manned by Vice-President Veron Lau) to find out more about what they could do for the animal welfare movement in Singapore.

While the event was clearly an opportunity for students to learn about the gravity of the situation firsthand, it was also a quantifiable indicator for stakeholders to gauge the level of empathy among youth. Needless to say, the symposium has established itself as a much-needed initiative for the issue of animal welfare - underscored by Singapore Press Holdings' involvement this year - and looks set to become a regular prestigious event on the calendar.

Other Videos

Tormented 'Foods' - Exotic Meats & Live Seafood by Ms Amy Corrigan

The Wild Side of Life - Keeping Wildlife as Pets by Mr Louis Ng

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Don't HOP to buy rabbits this Easter

SINGAPORE, 29 March 2011: Anticipating the very real possibility of impulse purchases of rabbits, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) Singapore and the House Rabbit Society, Singapore (HRSS) released a joint statement today urging the public not to give in to any momentary lapse of judgement and buying a pet rabbit.

The statement comes ahead of a new animated comedy entitled 'HOP' (below) which chronicles the fictional tale of the Easter Bunny's teenage son seeking fame as a drummer in Hollywood. The movie is set to be released in theatres here on Friday, in time for the Good Friday and Easter Day holidays in late April.

With the common trend being people getting excited after such endearing depictions of rabbits - which then motivate some to act on impulse and buy a pet rabbit, HRSS President Ms.Jacelyn Heng observes that “rabbits and children are not a good mix as rabbits require plenty of care and maintenance that children cannot be expected to commit to for the duration of the animal’s life.”

The SPCA took in 481 rabbits in 2010 alone - all were either found abandoned or given up. In addition, SPCA investigations of cruelty involving rabbits revealed that they were often left isolated in small cages along corridors with only the basics provided. In extreme cases, however, not even water was available, or the animals were found to be suffering from neglect and malnourishment through inadequate or improper diet.

The SPCA would like to remind the public that cruelty to animals is a crime - including abandonment of one’s pet - and is punishable by law. Anyone who is found guilty can be imprisoned for up to 12 months, fined up to $10,000, or both.

Ms. Deirdre Moss, Executive Director of SPCA says, “It is the prospect of rabbits bought on impulse or as festive gifts that worries the SPCA. People assume rabbits only live for a couple of years, but they have a life span of eight to 12 years which is comparable to cats and some dogs.”

As the HRSS and SPCA are anticipating pet stores here to stock up on rabbits during the Easter season with the objective of attracting more buyers, they would like to ask everyone to consider carefully before deciding to own a pet rabbit and remind that there are plenty of healthy loving rabbits available at the SPCA and HRSS foster homes waiting for the right owner.

The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) Singapore provides various animal welfare services to the community including a 24-hour emergency service, cruelty investigation, a sterilisation voucher programme for strays as well as running an animal shelter for abused and abandoned pets and strays. For more information, visit
The House Rabbit Society, Singapore (HRSS) runs a fostering programme to rescue and re-home abandoned rabbits and participates in numerous public events to educate the general public about rabbit care and behaviour. For more information, visit

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Shelter offers $10K reward in mutilated dog case

SINGAPORE, 11 March 2011: Outraged by the extent of torment suffered by a helpless canine recently, the local shelter that cared for it has been incensed enough to offer a $10,000 reward for any information leading to the arrest and prosecution of the abuser.

The female dog called Wander was living in an industrial park under a lorry. Sometime in October 2010, an unfamiliar foreign worker encroached her territory and Wander reacted by barking. The worker responded by brutally hitting her with a thick bicycle chain. The commotion attracted the attention of another worker at the site who shouted at the abuser, upon which the culprit cycled away.

A local feeder of the vicinity, Mr Ng, then came across Wander who he had been feeding over the past 6 years. He established the facts from the witness and tended to the wounds himself.

However, the injury did not heal well and thus Mr Ng referred Wander to Mdm Wong's Shelter which houses a number of stray dogs. At the shelter, Wander was treated for her injuries by a veterinarian and subsequently transferred to Mutts & Mittens whose volunteers provided constant care.

Unfortunately, the severe injuries resulted in "chronic inflammation of her wounds and this most likely led to a tumour growth on her face. Her condition deteriorated and the caregivers made the humane decision to euthanise her as she was in so much pain” according to Dr. Eugene Lin, a veterinarian at Animal Recovery Centre.

The tumour, which was diagnosed as cancerous, had grown rapidly and caused a block in the nasal passage forcing Wander to breathe from her mouth. A secondary cancerous growth on the right side of her gums compounded the situation by causing difficulty in eating as she also needed to use her mouth for breathing at the same time.

Thus, on 5 March 2011, at about 12.55pm, Wander was humanely euthanised and cremated later that day.

The almost six-month ordeal for Wander which resulted in her unnecessary death has now prompted Mutts & Mittens to actively pursue the perpetrator by offering the substantial reward of $10,000. With Wander's story having attracted mainstream media attention, Mutts & Mittens believes that someone will be motivated enough to come forward and identify the culprit. Its director, Mr Cohen Ng says, "Only with the public’s help will we be able to bring the person who abused Wander to task and end this injustice.”

Anyone with information can call Mutts and Mittens at +65-65837371 or email the organisation at

Mutts and Mittens is a boarding kennel and shelter based in Singapore that was established in 2003 which currently provides sanctuary to over 150 homeless dogs and 80 cats. More information on the organisation is available at