It’s Up to Me 2011

Policies are as good as its perceived fairness and integrity.

Policies however are often made with very practical concerns in mind – social order and enforceability. As such, advocacy for change must focus not only on why policies should be changed but how they can be changed to be fairer, more inclusive while still upholding social order and enforceability.

This means presenting alternatives and solutions, while at the same time preparing our own community for realistic change.

Leading and advocating change benefits animals, develops integrity and improves society.

“Leadership is more than a job. Leaders envision…inspire… motivate… navigate…celebrate. Leaders see value in people/beings and places – and the relationships between them. Leaders fill people around them with a sense of purpose and contribution. Where there is leadership there is hope, imagination, creativity, accomplishment and excellence. Leadership is more than a job. Leadership is a way of being.” Bert Troughton, Director, San Francisco SPCA

A leader
* has conviction in their cause
* has a natural curiosity about how the world works
* is realistic about how the world works
* is not afraid of dealing with people of all levels
* is not afraid to ask tough questions of themselves and of others
* is a community builder and connector
* is gracious
* is not easily discouraged by setbacks and failures
* can be anyone who wants to make a difference

There will be over 80 precincts within 27 constituencies. Essentially, we need that many voices to make a difference. Only then can we make deep connections within these communities with Town Councils, Residents’ Committes, residents and caregivers.

Finding our voice and asking the tough questions.

Both agency officers and animal welfare advocates would agree on a rational level on where issues fall on a matrix between compassionate/uncaring (as social traits) and acceptable/unacceptable standard of animal welfare (as regulatory basis).

But when it comes to carrying out their duties and convictions, the climate of tolerance often looks more like this.

Animal welfare advocates will tolerate irresponsibility, even those that are highly questionable because they believe they are saving lives from dying.

Agencies will let questionable practices go, often due to lack of resources or the conviction to battle their own bureaucracy.

The overlap of tolerance between the 2 groups becomes confined to a narrow space of political correctness, while there are vast areas that cannot be reconciled enough for coherent change in policy.

Lasting social change is not revolutionary but evolutionary.

It has a lot to do with how national and commercial resources are allocated. If we only allow that small area of political correctness in animal welfare to exist where agencies and animal welfare advocates can agree, that will be where large-scale education campaigns, funded by government, foundations and commercial entities, will put their money. The result is often generic PC messages that make very little difference.

Large-scale programmes like sterilisation will also be stalled because of a lack of agreement on fine print.

What change should bring is equilibrium on a difficult issue.

A mature society is one that aims to uphold the value of social responsibility. It is a responsibility we all must have towards ourselves, each other, our community, our animals and our environment in equal proportions.

It forms the basis of what we can work towards right here right now. It is also a realistic reconciliation of values that real change can be based on.

Towards a better future for animals.

It is a tough pill to swallow that change cannot come soon enough to end all abuse and culling. There is a limit as to what policy and regulations can and will do. The rest as always, is up to us.

If you feel strongly about animal suffering, abuse and culling, it is up to you to get involved

  • Be a foster
  • Be a caregiver
  • Engage feeders and pet owners in your neighbourhood who may not be doing the responsible thing.
  • Be familiar with animal welfare standards and write to agencies and/or pet shops and farms based on facts and evidence when you see something amiss.
  • Join citizen patrols when abuse happens in your neighbourhood.
  • Donate to sterilisation
  • Donate to a shelter
  • Volunteer at a shelter
  • Love your pet for life

Better yet, lead others towards a better future.


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