A welcome development for animal lovers and animal welfare advocates.
The National Parks Board (NParks) launched a public consultation for the general public to express their views on how to raise standards in the pet sector.
Launched Saturday (Oct 26), the consultation will go for more than two months, until December 26, via an online survey and through roving expeditions.
Participants will include representatives from pet businesses such as breeders, boarders and pet shops, animal welfare groups, veterinary professionals and academics.
Since August, NParks has conducted focus group discussions with various stakeholders in the sector on how to improve pet traceability and discussed ways on raising the standards of breeders and boarders in order to safeguard animal health and welfare.
Discussions also focused on enhancing guidelines to ensure animal health and welfare, certification and training for staff and measures to deter errant breeders and boarders.
Also during the discussions, participants recommended that measures are introduced to encourage more pet owners to license their dogs and to have a common registry to motivate people to microchip their pet cats and dogs.
“Based on initial input from these stakeholders, NParks is now gathering views from the public through the consultation,” it said.
NParks will be collating the input from the public consultation and focus group sessions, and these will be shared early next year and will be used to “shape pet-related policies underpinned by science.”
The public is encouraged to actively share their views so that with their help, animal health and welfare will be promoted while safeguarding public health.
Members of the public can express their views through an online survey at www.go.gov.sg/petreview on the Animal and Veterinary Service’s website.
Measures in place but more can be done
In 2013, the Government-commissioned Animal Welfare Legislative Review Committee recommended wide-ranging measures – both legislative and industry-led – to improve the lives of pets in Singapore.There have been signs of progress.
Pilot programmes to get stray dogs and cats adopted in Housing Board flats started on a positive note, a national adoption centre was in the drawing board and the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) begun re-homing some stray dogs.
Minister for Foreign Affairs and Law K.Shanmugam and Acting Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin have also been visible in championing greater animal protection.
Welfare groups say problems of irresponsible ownership, animal abandonment, the large stray dog population and re-homing policies are all associated, and that the AVA should focus on the root causes rather than depend solely on culling.
Their list of policies include — 1) a concerted effort to sterilise the 8,000-strong stray dog population, 2) for HDB to relax its ban on medium and large dogs in flats and 3) mandatory training for all prospective pet buyers.
Strong will and a compassionate society is what is needed to enforce and realize the ideas that will be expressed in the consultation. If the will is weak and Singaporeans will continue to adopt the “easy way out” methods, animal cruelty will always be a part of the Lion City’s way of life.