[Image taken from popfi.com]

A task force has been set up to review pet ownership and stray animal management policies in Singapore. Led by the Ministry of National Development (MND), this task force comprises officials from the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) and Housing Development Board (HDB). The review will take four months to complete.

This review was preempted by the Minister for National Development, Mr Khaw Boon Wan, who wrote a blog post on 2nd June, requesting AVA to review its stray cat culling policy. He had also tasked Brigadier-General (NS) Tan with working with working with AVA, welfare organisations, as well as the community to work out a way to approach these issues. The review will collect feedback from the communities.

There is a pressing need to address these issues, especially since pet ownership has increased in recent years, as indicated by the 59,000 dog licences issued last year. Cats, on the other hand, do not need to be licensed.

According to BG Tan, what is important now is to scrutinize pet ownership policies in detail, as well as to find a common space for animal lovers and non-animal lovers to co-exist harmoniously.

Another initiative that will take effect this month is the Stray Cat Sterilisation Programme, which aims to promote sterilization as an alternative to culling. Led by AVA and supported by participating town councils and the Cat Welfare Society (CWS), this programme will be carried out in specific zones under the Sembawang-Nee Soon, Tampines, Ang Mo Kio and Marine Parade town councils.

How this programme works is that the AVA will subsidise $20 to microchip each cat, as well as half of the sterilization costs—up to $30 and $60 for male and female cats respectively. Additionally, CWS will subsidise $10 per cat, with the caregiver paying for the rest. The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) will subsidise half of the sterilization costs in the MacPherson division under the Marine Parade town council.

Previous attempts under the Stray Cat Rehabilitation Scheme by AVA and the various welfare groups and town councils proved fruitless, as the number of strays and complaints were not reduced.

Animal welfare organizations agree that the review of pet ownership and welfare policies is much needed and are happy that the public will be involved in formulating the new policies. The financial subsidies granted for the sterilization of stray cats will also lift a huge burden from the shoulders of caregivers.


Source: Task force to review pet ownership policies; AVA to pilot stray cat sterilization scheme The Straits Times 12 July 2011