Singapore — A new local pet brand is surfacing, bringing with it a new standard for animal welfare.
Cute animals live rent-free in our hearts and minds. No matter how busy one is at work, there’s always time to profess our love for cute pet videos on social media.
But how many of us would actually have the courage and dedication to lend a helping hand to animals in need?
From being repeatedly beaten and abandoned, to being flung out the window, pets in Singapore are not exempt from animal abuse and cruelty cases.
As much as one might feel sorry for abused animals, feeling sad hardly changes anything.
This is why Chan Chow Wah, Managing Partner of Animal Human Alliance (AHA), decided to do something about it — by making it his life’s mission to help Singapore’s stray furkids.
AHA is a Singaporean business social enterprise that sells pet food and products under the brands Gold-D (PETA certified and cruelty-free pet food and products) and AHA Pet Safe Home Care (pet-safe home care products such as dishwasher and disinfectants). Founded in 2013 by Mr Chan and an anonymous partner, both of whom are passionate animal rescuers, AHA also runs an animal shelter, conducts palliative care for cats, and coordinates rescue efforts in Singapore.
The development of AHA’s food range started after they adopted Ken Ken from Mettacats, a non-profit organisation that provides a safe haven for injured, abused, or abandoned animals.
Ken Ken was a community cat, and someone had poured boiling liquid on him that caused painfully permanent scars. They decided to take him in due to his age and conditions (huge scar), which lowered his chances to be adopted.
The following year, Mr Chan adopted another cat, Gold-D, from Mettacats as a companion for Ken Ken.
Both felines were Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) positive, increasing the chances of cancer. So when Gold-D started to lose weight, the vet advised Mr Chan to get Gold-D checked for cancer should the weight loss continue.
While researching on ingredients that would help Gold-D, carrageenan caught Mr Chan’s attention. Carrageenan has the potential to be carcinogenic while containing no nutritional value, and it was important to make sure both Ken Ken and Gold-D were not exposed to it.
That sparked the idea for a carrageenan-free pet food brand: Gold-D. Gold-D, named after the adopted cat, is distributed across the globe in EU and Asia, and actively promotes animal welfare issues. The “face” of Gold-D products are all feline friends which are disabled, FIV+ and Feline Leukemia Virus positive (FeLV+) cats. The dog food collection also features Singapore Specials (a nickname that refers to a dog that has
been bred in the streets) such as Molly.
Both Ken Ken and Gold-D passed away in 2017.
However, AHA tries to take in as many animals as they can, including palliative cases (requiring constant caregiving and to optimise quality of life and mitigating suffering). They shared that they want to help animals in need, care for, and love them. “It is a very traumatic experience to see animals suffering. But feeling sad does not change anything. Taking action will.” says Mr Chan, co-founder of AHA. Which is why AHA has started a Rahula FeLV Sanctuary, a privately-funded no-kill sanctuary for FeLV+ cats in Singapore.
AHA is currently producing a documentary called “Year of the dog” that explores the issues of community dogs in Singapore. It stars Molly, the Singapore Special that AHA had adopted from Just for Paws. This is a public education project that aims to raise awareness towards important animal welfare issues.
They previously produced a documentary called “The Metta Story” which won 24 awards and official nominations in 11 countries.
“Always treat our pets as family members. It is a great privilege to be able to care for and to love them. Whatever we do for them, they give us so much more in return and also their unconditional love.” says Mr Chan, highlighting the importance of caring for the pets we own.
Denise Teh is an intern at The Independent SG. /TISG
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