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


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