Friday, February 20, 2009

conversations on cat welfare

the cat blogosphere has been ablaze with fresh activity since ava’s banal “no easy response to stray cats” rejoinder to the spirited TODAY feature on Dr Tan Chek Wee “the outspoken doc”.

the govt’s arguments about cats being a nuisance and hazard are laundered yearly right down to its bare threads and so past its sell-by date, it’s heartening to see people still with politically-correct words left in their defense. i only have one, @#%.

then the grisly discovery of 45 cats buried in seletar stunned the nation. cat lovers grieved. seletar residents fretted. cat non-lovers were appropriately respectful. the media prepared for a bonanza. and how the authorities must have braced themselves for an impending public relations problem.

true to fashion, TNP sold many papers with their provocative features on cat aids and Tony Tan Tuan Khoon. they freaked the public and gave Tony and cousin Choo their cringe-worthy airtime. but they also ignited a coherent campaign against govt funding and support for vigilante cat trapping by ordinary citizens that might actually stick.

it is a point worth driving home to the powers upstairs: rubber-stamping culling as a reasonable method of reducing strays spawns the likes of Tony, one civic-minded law-abiding poster boy no respectable govt agency wants to be associated with.

while the cat community keeps the dialogue alive on blogs, on forums, on facebook, perhaps it is time for a parallel approach. as we continue the battle of words, letters and petitions, perhaps it is time to see it from the govt’s perspectives and offer concrete solutions to the sticky issues that they cite time and again as deterrents towards more progressive and humane policies. and this may actually require working alongside the govt to tackle their pet issue – reducing public complaints on strays. it’s a tall order but one worth pursuing.

already, AVA numbers show a definite down trend in nuisance calls. CWS should take the credit for that for their relentless effort in engaging TCs and AVA, providing support for caregivers and channeling resources to education, mediation and to sterilisation. that barrel needs to keep rolling.

and still there is always room for fresh ideas and platforms if the right people can come together on it. and that is where “Conversations on Cat Welfare” comes in. we are meeting tomorrow 21 Feb 3pm at Food#03 on 109 Rowell Rd.

this informal meeting hopes to identify current gaps in cat welfare practices, areas of collaboration and ultimately spin off projects that will help the cause. these can eventually be taken up individually or collectively.

to start the ball rolling, some information has been collated to provide perspective on the cat welfare ecosystem in singapore. this is by no means complete and inputs are welcomed to make this a robust repository for the benefit of everyone. if anything, our message is that it is time for the cat community to work together despite differences, share information as much as possible and to support each other’s ideas and efforts, because the stray cats downstairs can only benefit from more of them, not less.

click on images to enlarge
CCM = community cat management
AWO = animal welfare organisations

Before 1998
*150,000 stray cats
*13,000 stray cats culled annually
*14,000 cat nuisance calls

1998 – Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) (then PPD – Primary Production Dept) implemented Stray Cat Rehabilitation Scheme (SCRS)

2001 – 28,000 stray cats impounded

2003 – AVA terminates scheme
*80,000 stray cats (10,000 sterilised)
*16 Town Councils (TC) & 500 volunteers on TNRM
*Cat nuisance calls spike during SARS, sterilised cats also at risk
*AVA & TCs culling bill up 20% ($62,000) to $598,944 to catch and cull 7,682 cats and 4,744 dogs

2006 – AVA supports sterilisation by volunteers with subsidy and communication to TCs

if you have an interest in cat welfare, feel free to come join us.

1 comment:

MightyMouse said...

Sorry that I couldn't make it for the discussion. Hope the discussion was fruitful. Interesting information that you've compiled.


blogger templates | Make Money Online