Change starts with us and it has happened.
- Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority and more Town Councils and Members of Parliament acknowledge the benefits of sterilisation and community cat management.
- Culling rate has experienced a year-on-year drop from an all-time high of 14,000 to 5000 last year.
No doubt, there is much more to do. As more people become aware of the plight of domestic animals, they have stood behind campaigns, petitions and calls to
- Stop putting healthy animals down
- Sterilise community dogs and cats instead of cull
- Bring animal abusers and abandoners to justice with stiff penalties
- Better regulate pet breeding sale in farms, shops and from homes
- Increase adoption rate
- Improve pet licensing system so that pet owners can be better tracked and identified through microchipping
- Lift the ban on cats in HDB so that responsible ownership can be better enforced
- Rescue and shelter more young, sick and at-risk animals on the streets
- Change mindsets through better awareness and education
We have been pushing the same buttons for upwards of 10 years. Some issues have seen improvement. Others have remained a stumbling block.
It is time to do things a little differently in the next 10 and this is what the Cat Welfare Society would like to see happen
- A national vision for the welfare of domestic animals.
- Recognition that we are all in this together – government agencies, organisations, media, industry, man on the street (YOU).
A National Vision for the Welfare of Domestic Animals
Like the veteran activist in the Dogs, Cats & Humans documentary said, “I am interested in dealing with reality, not fantasy.” A faultless humanity is a long way away. What we can want is to make progress. What we should want is
- A national standard of humane conduct as applied to breeders, shelters, shops, owners, pest control operators, caregivers by 2015.
- Cut culling rate to x number of animals by 2015.
- Increase annual sterilisation rate of pet and community animals to x% by 2015.
- Stabilise and reduce the number of community animals through humane means to x per x blocks by 2015.
With a common vision, not only will the animal welfare community be on the same page, it invites new possibilities for collaborations, even new players, to invigorate the existing animal welfare ecosystem. That way, as a community, we work effectively to capitalise on fresh opportunities and networks. We can also work creatively around stumbling blocks instead of waiting for them to be cleared.
Having clear markers also provide us with a way to hold government agencies, organisations and caregivers accountable for their role in advancing towards a common vision.
BE THE CHANGE. LEAD THE CHANGE.
Change starts with us because we have the power to show others what is possible.
- Sterilisation has stabilised community cat population in several estates and reduced the cull rate.
- Problems have been resolved simply by talking to and educating our neighbours.
- Many people have practiced responsible cat ownership and successfully kept cats in HDB.
- Animal abuse and pet abandonment cases have been brought to justice through citizen action.
Change is possible when people get organised. Change is certain, when people with ideas, initiative and commitment to action, come forward to lead and grow a grassroot movement in their community.
Animal welfare as a cause is certainly not just about animals. The issues we face are often rooted in wider social concerns like apathy, self-interest, poverty, poor education, social isolation, dysfunction and mental disorders. Therefore solutions cannot be found without making the right connections to other sectors and agencies in the community.
This requires an informed and robust grassroot effort. Furthermore, there are certain demographics in our society that are impervious to campaigns, roadshows and a media that is increasingly fragmented. They often cannot be effectively reached without an outreach effort within a community.
In the months to come, the Cat Welfare Society will be seeking to work with people with the potential or already are community leaders in their own capacity. A series of Mediation and Leadership Workshops will also be lined up to groom a new generation of leaders. Come forward if you want to be the change.