Category Archives: Asia

Asia news & happenings

Meow to arms: please help end annual dolphin slaughter in Taiji, Japan

(If you find this post informative, you might like to check out these.)

Philly_Rheilly_20090525_002_DSC_0146xWe love our kitties, and we love their purrs, chuffs, quirks, psychosis and all. That is what being family is about. Much as we cannot bear the thought of being apart from family, we would not wish anyone to be separated from theirs. This is an appeal for intensely family-centred non-kitties who need help. And we’re asking kitty mums and dads because you’ve shown yourselves to be compassionate and passionate. So we’re asking you to help by doing one of the following:

  • If you don’t have time to continue reading, PLEASE GO HERE IMMEDIATELY, thank you very much
  • Otherwise, please bear with us as we explain some background and tell you our reasons for appealing to you.

By now, visitors to tec probably have an inkling that beyond the kitty snugglecore us minions purvey (or try to), we also draw attention to kitty problems and other cutsies and wildlife face, whether here or out there in the world and the help they need.

Beyond the lack of fur, watery homes, and IQ differentials (debatable to some), dolphins are one of the most kitty-like in their fiery focus on fun and food. Life seems a forever funival to dolphins, much like the swishing toy, which goes nowhere, is the kitty’s perpetual fascination. But whales and dolphins have stronger sense of family, often maintaining relationships between parents and offspring, siblings, cousins, aunties, uncles. Dolphins take it one step further, living in multi-generation family groups called pods.

So imagine what it is like for them when a whale is harpooned (often dying slowly by drowning), or dolphins herded into a cove to be slowly killed over a few days, and the survivors fished out from the carnage and sold to entertain people.

Philly_Rheilly_20090525_008_DSC_0152xWhale and dolphin killing sunders the close-knit cetacean families, and hinders the rehabilitation of whale numbers, which were hunted almost to extinction in the 1970s. For dolphins, it also feeds and fuels the public interest for dolphin entertainment shows (which feature wild-captured dolphins who, if they survive the trauma of capture and the horrors of witnessing their families being killed, usually live only another 2-3 wretched years). Dolphins are also labelled as whale meat. The public and even citizens of the whale killing nations are generally ignorant of these pathetic facts.

Us minions believe whale killing and dolphin slaughter are things that are barbaric, antiquated and have no place in modern society.

Rheilly_20090525_001_DSC_0154xHowever, there seems to be no real progress to the efforts to permanently stop the annual wanton waste of life… until the Cove this year, a documentary-movie with a message, and a noble mission.

For once, something managed to halt temporarily the annual dolphin slaughter season in Taiji, Japan. This was thanks to the intense scrutiny and interest the move generated. To the point that the Japanese media, which had never wanted to talk about the shame that is Taiji’s annual hunt, also went to Taiji and were showed the movie!

In no small part, Taiji’s discretion seemed to stem from the suspension of sister-city ties by Broomed Australia too. However, the residents of Broome did not have an easy time of it even from fellow Australians. They have bravely stood their ground… until now.

Please encourage them to continue the course – they were doing the right thing but now it could unravel because they reversed their decision!

Can there be hope for the whales and dolphins who swim in the Sea of Japan and everywhere else within the Japanese whaling fleet‘s reach? Mr Ishii and Ric O’Barry’s stories gives us hope. Mr Ishii, a dolphin fisherman who hunted dolphins as his fathers did before him, now runs a whale and dolphin watching tour outfit. Mr Ishii is not the only who has taken the brave step of speaking up and acting against something he understood to be wrong. But there is a long way to go, despite the benefits of keeping whales and dolphins alive. The Mr Ishiis and Ric O’Barrys of this world can’t do it alone. Please click here and help them.

Thank you.

(If you find this post informative, you might like to check out these.)

Japan Taiji dolphin slaughter – good news for 1 Sep at least

How wonderful for the dolphins, at least for 1 day.

Urgent Update from Taiji: September 1, 2009, A Good Day for Dolphins
Posted by Guest Contributor on September 1, 2009 at 2:05 pm

200353827-001Editor’s Note: This piece was written by guest contributor Richard O’Barry of the Save Japan Dolphins Coalition.

As TakePart reported earlier this week, O’Barry is currently in Taiji, Japan with European and Japanese journalists in anticipation of the annual dolphin slaughter that usually takes place the first week of September.

Today is September 1st, the first day of the dolphin slaughter season in Japan. But when I arrived today by bus from Kansai Airport with media representatives from all over the world, the notorious Cove from the movie was empty. There were no dolphin killers in sight.

So today is a very good day for dolphins!

I vowed to be back in Taiji when the dolphin killing began. I’ve often been here alone, or accompanied by a few environmentalists. Sometimes, I was able to talk a major media organization into sending someone.

But the people of Japan never learned about the dolphin slaughter, because none of the media in Japan (with the exception of the excellent Japan Times) have ever sent reporters to the killing Cove. Until today!

… click here to continue reading

Imagine if the same were to happen for Singapore’s community cats and dogs – that celebrities and journalists take an interest in, and film pest-control round-ups of cats and dogs, citizen trapping and film the euthanesia process anmd conditions in AVA. Then maybe people will wake up and look real hard at the more humane ways in dealing with stray cats.

The need to spread the word about how Singapore deals with community cats and dogs looks to be gaining urgency, when even Town Council general managers think they are merely despatched to the AVA for “assistance“. What sort of assistance did the TC bigwigs expect from AVA? Housing grants or rights, maybe to eke out a living on some unnamed offshore island nobody cares about? Time to pull the cotton away from those blinkered eyes. Where’s the LAW?


(PS: I’ve promised furry-do… no worries, it’s to come)

There be giants… and Man likes ‘em better dead

In keeping with the L-A-R-G-E swimmers (which are not limited to salties) theme of the latest posts, here’s some fantastical stuff about big fishes. While looking up bluefin info for this post, I cane across several fascinating articles about very large fishes.

Just this very month, a 20 year old kid caught the largest male mako shark on record:


A Scituate man reeled in a 624-pound mako shark Thursday, possibly breaking the record for the biggest male mako ever caught, a biologist said….

… the 10-foot fish is the largest male mako shark ever to be recorded in the Atlantic Ocean, and appears to be the largest male ever caught.

“We didn’t think they got this big, basically,” ….

“When I saw the shark, I said, ‘That would be a dream to catch,’” Sears recounted.

shark082809It’s fantastic to know that there are still such magnificent specimens in our collapsing ocean ecologies. That science is getting new information and we learn a bit more about these little-understood sharks, but does it warrant turning the mako into fish steaks?

What is it with anglers and hunters that beautiful large living things must be possessed, conquered, preferably life snuffed out. Why the impulse to kill and destroy wonders of nature? All that matters is the self-serving dream of boasting of killing something large, something rare. (I remember news a few years about a regal giant moose with magnificent antlers in some US national park who was well-loved by visitors and park rangers; he was found dead and they found his killer because his antlers were on display in the  teenager’s backyard, a teenager who wanted to own the biggest antlers around.)

Or staking a claim in some way.

Whale sharks are the largest fish in the world, placid plankton mowers quite apart from the frenzied killing machine image JAWS evoke.

WhaleShark1They have the largest fins of all sharks by sheer size. Inevitably, they are also coveted for that accursed Chinese dish, sharks’ fin soup. I believe their fins are known as one of the highest grade fins, tian jiu chi (fins of 9 heavens). But again, very very little is known about the whale shark itself. No one knows their reproduction cycle and young sharks smaller than 4m are impossible to sight. So the discovery of a baby shark just 15inches in length (pictured) earlier this year caused much excitement.

The sad thing about this baby’s discovery is that it was tied to a stick in the water, like a leashed dog. A hawker was apparently trying to sell it.

WhaleShark2Now that it has been rescued, let’s hope it grows up to its full potential of 9 to 14 metres and live out its natural lifespan of 60 to 100 years.

WhaleShark9I hope it doesn’t end up as fish steaks like some of its kind did, whether due to fishing net entanglement, shipping lane accidents or hunting. I certainly hope it doesn’t become an exhibit like Sammy either.

While it is the ocean giants that mesmerises, the muddy depths of freshwater rivers do plump a surprise or 3. Well-known are the Mekong’s giant catfish, Chinese sturgeon (thought to be a source of the dragon mythology), the Amazon’s Arapaimas or Pirarucu. Less well-know, and only recently certified as legitimate are giant freshwater stingrays. GiantStingray

In the world of giant swimmers, perhaps the most well-known is Wally the humphead wrasse. Or one fish named Wally did. There are multiple Wallies in the reef.  He resides in the Great Barrier Reef, an ambassador resident after being rescued from a one-way trip to a cooking pot in Hong Kong. However it is not clear whether the stay of execution is permanent or what happens should he be somehow nabbed legally by some enterprising fisherman.

Sadly, wherever they and however big they grow, megafish all face the same threats: overfishing, habitat loss, pollution, climate change. In a word, Man.

The burning question: Who gave all the covetous hunters, anglers, and gourmets of the world the right to terminate these wonders of nature for their own selfish wants and deprive the rest of the world?

HDB’s cat ban elicits incredulity

Popular local blogger Mr Wang blogged about his brother’s art exhibition in Hong Kong. The interesting thing is its his “brother’s sixth exhibition of cat paintings, all of which are inspired by his real-life pet cat”. If this cat minion were in Hong Kong, this would an exhibition I’d go to. I was particularly piqued with this remark by Mr Wang:

And here’s another. I guess this is about HDB’s prohibition on flat owners having a pet cat:

The interesting thing is one reader’s reaction to the HDB cat ban:

Are you sure this is the case? I think this sort of statement spells disaster for credibility.
I think feeding strays is illegal or frowned upon, but not having legal pets.

I think this sort of reaction is good. People do tend to want to believe the positive where there’s a choice, never mind the reality. But this also shows how incredulous people find the ban to be. I’m interested to know the reactions when more people realise just how ridiculous Singapore’s pet and animal control policies are. I’ve responded (adding AVA’s pet cat brochure which extols the suitability of cats as indoor pets who do not need to roam for good measure), but of course it depends on whether Mr Wang approves my comment. I hope he does.

Forget awareness, I cannot believe in this day and age such things should be shocking news. What people need to do is acknowledge reality, not just about the pet legislations in place but also the whole animal population control situation – and the laughability of it all. TNRM is the way to go, culling is ineffective and an expense taxpayers should not be expected to subsidize. When the Singapore government and the bureaucrats running rings around their fingers see the light depends on more and different Singaporeans speaking up.

20090323: Thailand dugongs hunted and smuggled to Singapore

This is terrible, Singapore is a signatory to CITES, and the dugong is on Appendix I – critically endangered. But then, Singapore consistently makes the grade as a wildlife smuggling hub. I am perturbed that dugong parts are being used/processed and sold in Singapore. Be a responsible consumer: Please do not buy dugong parts or products!

(Content after this point filched off singaporecommunitycats.)

News @ AsiaOne

Thailand dugongs hunted and smuggled to Singapore

Each dugong commands a price of $2130 on the black market. S’pore is the biggest market for this trade. Dead dunongs are used to produce medicine and amulets. -The Nation/ANN

Mon, Mar 23, 2009
The Nation/Asia News Network

Trang’s fishermen have asked the government to strictly control the illegal dugong trade after they found many foreign mariners hunting the animals and smuggling them out to Singapore for Bt50,000 (S$2130) each, villager leader IsmaAnn Ben SaArd said.

The illegal hunt is being carried out by foreign fishermen especially from Satun province. They throw bombs into cairns or near coral reefs, with the resulting explosion towing up many fish, he added.

IsmaAnn explained that some wayward local fishermen have pointed out the area to foreign fishermen.

25 killed in a month

Moreover, they also use seine and large fishing nets to hunt stingray and other kinds of fish two kilometers from the coast. They use a local fishhook called “Rawai” to hunt dugong, killing more than 25 of the creatures during the past month alone.

Trang authorities have announced that Rawai is an illegal piece of fishing equipment for it endangers dugong and sea turtles.

He said each dugong commands a price of Bt50,000 (S$2130) on the black market, with its bones and teeth going for Bt30,000 (S$1278). Singapore is the biggest market for this trade. The country uses the dead dugong to produce medicine and amulets. –The Nation/ Asia News Network

Soapbox time… adoptions, CNY binging and species survival

Snuck a break, and checked out 2 bloggies after me own ticker:

1. ADOPTIONS. From the my animal family blog:

Friday, January 16, 2009

Flea Mania, GN’R for the love of cats

… there is something to be said about the unmade-up mind which is often not more appreciated. they are minds still engaged. for those whose minds are well and truly set, those conversations are essentially dead and dried up. and where does that leave us?

recently, the woman encountered a clash of cultures between a cat foster and potential adopter. the foster is dead set against the potential adopter because she has heard too many stories. it’s not right she admits, but would you gamble away the life of a kitten on ideals about tolerance and harmony?

the woman looks at the kitten who is small and fragile in her hands and she wavers. ultimately, she gave the kitten to the adopter.

it is crystal clear we all start out at the same place, foster, adopter – love for the cat. but while those of us who are activists, fosters, volunteers and vested in the capacity that we are, have reached certain conclusions about how exactly a cat should be cared for, it is not for us to judge who can come to those same conclusions and who cannot.

like good art and music, the work of a cat welfare volunteer is to engage and to help all kinds of people along to new understanding and new revelations. if we are set and hardened as bricks, what we might do is save that one kitten. how about the many that we cannot reach with just one hand on the left and one on the right?


Been wanting to write on this topic… but well, there you have it, my animal family style. BTW, GNR = Guns and Roses… glam metal/rock band, not my fav, but definitely an outfit from my musical era and taste.

2. CNY binging and species survival: the sharks edition. From mrs budak’s blog:

“We eat the whole shark” my foot!

12th Jan, 2009 at 9:02 AM
Angel disapproves

I have written about this before but I can’t find the post anymore. With Chinese New Year coming we’re seeing some entries from “food bloggers” on hotel CNY packages. These CNY packages, naturally, feature shark’s fin.

The common refrain from these food bloggers is that we Chinese “eat the whole shark”. Very interesting. We Chinese are indeed well-known for eating up every single part of every thing we catch or kill. That is, if the meat actually makes its way to the restaurant.

Funny how nobody actually asked the restaurants about this, huh?

It’s very simple economics. If you’re out catching fish you’re going to fill your vessel with stuff that fetch the highest price in the market. On a per pound basis shark fins fetch much more than shark meat. Also, only certain species of shark are caught for their meat (dogshark etc); shark meat is otherwise reputed to be very tough, smelly (ammonia) or virtually inedible. Shark’s fin, however, is shark’s fin and no fisherman is going to begrudge a shark for its inedible meat when its fin fetches money.

So you have horrific pictures of finless sharks drowning on the seabed.

We see shark’s meat on sale at the market (SOMETIMES, as not all shark varieties are edible), or “shark meat lor mee”, and we delude ourselves into thinking that we “eat the whole shark”. We eat shark’s fin and psycho ourselves that the rest of the shark is being used somewhere else, somehow. Yeah, right.

So we “eat the whole shark” huh? Do you ask the restaurant if they buy the whole shark and use every single part? Do you know what species of shark the fin came from? Do you ask for the rest of the shark to be served together with the fin?

Please, if you want to eat shark’s fin (and be slowly poisoned by mercury), go ahead. But spare the rest of us “shark enthusiasts” of your hypocritical pronouncements that “we eat the whole shark”. Unless you can be sure that every single part of the shark your fin came from is indeed being used, just stuff your face and keep your mouth shut.

This is where your fucking shark fins came from )

Last year, there was also a feature in the Straits Times about Singaporeans’ growing penchant for shark’s fin soup, focusing on the tradition of serving it at Chinese wedding dinners. One spokeswoman from a top restaurant actually said their supply came from… wait for it… … farmed sharks!!!

‘Most of the couples’ parents consider this dish a premium and without it, they would lose face,’ said Mandarin Oriental’s communications director Ruth Soh.

Still, the hotel ensures that the fins it buys are only from fish farms, and not those that are harvested in the wild, or ‘finned’, she added.

Wow, if there is such a thing as shark farms, why are environmentalists and conservationists still crying hell and highwater for sharks and the marine ecology? But even if farmed sharks were more than an urban legend, like Mrs Budak asks: what about the rest of the shark??? I’d also love to get some details on how the hotel ensures the fins it buys are only from fish farms? I can’t find any information at all about any viable shark farms nor credible research on shark farming, just tonnes on how human consumption habits are killing the ocean’s fishes, including sharks.

The Singapore consumer is more gullible than is criminally possible. Talk about ostriches putting their heads in the sand, which by the way, is another human-made myth.

Missing in action: Megafauna and seed dispersal in Asia’s empty forests

Very nice in-depth article by the ducky-dad of the blankie beast:


Few people alive today know what is a stegodon. But it’s highly likely that the first generations of humans who arrived in East and Southeast Asia were quite familiar with these elephant-like creatures with bizarre tusks that ran parallel closely together towards the ground before curving upwards like a pair of long horns. On the continent, these pachyderms ranged from India to China. But when northern glaciers locked up enough seawater to turn Sundaland into a shallow shelf of immense river valleys and lowland rainforests, stegodons and other large land animals were able to walk or wade all the way to Luzon in the Philippines and Sulawesi in Indonesia. The returning seas trapped these footloose wanderers on islands such as Flores and Timor, where giants shrank over time to become jumbos the size of cows.

Between 40,000 and 50,000 years ago, modern hominids made their appearance in this region. The arrival of Homo in tropical East Asia coincided with a massive decline of large terrestrial mammals and the eventual disappearance of several species and even entire groups with no living remnants. Gigantopithecus was a massive ape that roamed East Asian forests in the same period as Homo erectus and now survives primarily in the imaginations of cryptozoologists and dreams of hopeful abominable snowmonsters. The stegodons survived for much longer, with the last known specimens dating from just 4,100 years before present from Yunnan in China, while dwarf species are known from Flores as recently as 12,000 years ago.

Elephants proper (Elephas sp.) coped better with the ascent of man, but with the rise of the Middle Kingdom, their habitats were cleared and hides so hunted (roasted trunk was a popular treat in ancient China) that a creature that once roamed as far north as Beijing now clings to a tenuous existence in the forests that border Myanmar. Elsewhere, Asian elephants rule over a fraction of their former range as expanding agri-industry and settlements force herds to find new homes in the hills or go head-on with humans to deadly effect.

Rhinos fared far worse, as East Asia’s two forest-dependent species teeter at the brink of extinction. Southern China had such high densities of Javan rhinos a few thousand years ago that their armour shielded the infantry of Chinese armies. Even in colonial times, casual big game hunters in the East Indies were able to boast of shooting six in a day. Today, no rhinos survive in China, whose medicinemen now cast their nets in Africa and other parts of Asia to satisfy their hunger for horny therapies. Just 300 or so Sumatran rhinos remain while Javan rhinos number in the mere dozens.

(click here to read full article)

P.S. Apologies for the radio silence. Good news to be updated with details are that Freddy and Mio have settled into new homes.

Sydney’s humpback whale calf euthanased

Sydney named* the lost calf… but ultimately he still died, yesterday morning: Humpback whale calf Colin euthanased. Click the link to read, there are details on the arguments for and against further attempts to save Colin, and links to debates on whether it was necessary to end little Colin’s life by human committee.

This is a surprisingly turn given the upbeat tone of articles like this, and reports of the military’s willingness to assist in rescue efforts, just hours earlier.

Colin’s case has also sparked some possible controversy… namely:

… an international law professor says it may be illegal for authorities to euthanise the abandoned calf.

Professor Donald Rothwell from the Australian National University says there is no provision or precedent under NSW law to put down the protected species.

He says an order could be possibly be granted under the NSW National Parks Act, but that would send the wrong message to the international community about whale conservation.

“One of the important issues which should cause concerns here is that humpback whales are the whales that Australia has particularly taken a strong position with in terms of their protection and conservation at the international level,” he said.

“I think the Japanese would view with some interest Australia granting a permit to actually legally kill a whale that’s in Australian waters.”


I would hate to see Colin’s tragedy open that can of worms to the benefit of his species’ killers.

EDIT: * Colin’s autopsy reveals him to be a her, and now she’s been renamed Collette, though it’s going to make scant difference to her.

Today 20080821: Why culling is necessary? …

Another template letter, a AVA response to this letter which was in response to this template AVA letter, stemming from the article: Canine Control. The Stray Dilemma For Animal Groups

This story was printed from TODAYonline
Why culling is necessary? …

Thursday • August 21, 2008

Letter from Goh Shih Yong

Assistant Director, Corporate Communications
for Chief Executive Officer
Agri-food & Veterinary Authority
Ministry Of National Development

WE REFER to “Why cull a dog that has been sterilised?” (Aug 15).

Rabies is an acute viral disease transmitted to man by the bite of a rabid animal, most commonly a dog, and the outcome is usually fatal. Though Singapore is free from rabies, the disease is endemic in the region. Hence, we have to remain constantly vigilant as the possibility of rabies entering Singapore remains.

It is especially important to keep the stray dog population in check as stray dogs are highly susceptible to rabies.

The Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority (AVA) encourages sterilisation as it is one of the ways to help prevent the proliferation of strays. However, sterilisation by itself is not an effective means to control the stray dog population.

Even though culling is an unfortunate task that we would rather not perform, it has to be carried out as an important measure to keep the stray dog population in check.

While AVA encourages the adoption of strays, we agree with the writer that it is not possible to find suitable homes for all the strays. Hence, it is inevitable that some of them have to be put down humanely.

Notwithstanding this, we would like to assure the public that AVA remains concerned about strays and animalwelfare.

We believe that education is key to arresting the pet abandonment and stray animal problem in the long term. We will continue our public education programme and work closely with welfare groups to promote responsible pet ownership.

We thank Ms Jill Hum for her feedback.

The rabies excuse being trotted around is interesting, in light of the fact that this is found on the AVA website:

1. With effect from February 2001, pet dogs and cats from Singapore can be exported to the United Kingdom without having to undergo the 6 months quarantine period. The UK Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF) has informed the Agri-food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) that they have accepted Singapore as a rabies free island under their Pet Travel Scheme (PETS). This Scheme was introduced in Feb 2000 to allow pets to travel between UK and approved European countries.

4. … Singapore has been free from rabies since 1953. To ensure that Singapore continues to be free from rabies, the AVA requires all imported cats and dogs (unless they are from rabies free countries) to be vaccinated against rabies and quarantined for at least 30 days in the Jurong Animal Quarantine Station on arrival. A person who imports a dog or cat from a non-rabies free country into Singapore without ensuring that the animal is vaccinated against rabies and quarantined on arrival is liable on conviction to a fine of $500 as well as a
jail term of 6 months.


So effectively, any outbreak of rabies would probably be from imported cats and dogs, not native furries. Even though the AVA is not interested in doing anything more than pay lip service to local animal welfare, shouldn’t it a least be concentrating on ensuring furries into Singapore ARE rabies-free rather than go after homeless animals that are sterilised and responsibly cared for? Talk about barking up the wrong tree.


To rub salt into the Singaporean intellectual wound, Sri Lanka, a country that’s behind Singapore’s per capita gdp by a whopping 95.44% 2192.11% (or another view: Sri Lanka’s is only 4.56% if Singapore’s is taken as a whole)*, IS taking concrete and humane steps at the national level to address the problem of rabies and homeless animal population control. Action speaks louder than words, but nothing is quite so loud as a pin hitting the ground of dead silence.

EDIT: Mea culpa, mathethical malfunction there. The percentages are corrected now, showing a even more stark contrast.

Sydney’s Lost Whale Calf

Dawn wrote about this heartbreaking news:

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Whale bonds with ship

This is pretty amazing – when you think about orphaned kittens and how they need to be looked after and how difficult it is to keep them alive, you read about this and realise that there really is no way to bottle feed a whale.

The BBC says too: Hopes fade for Sydney whale calf

The lost calf – aged between one and two months – was first sighted on Sunday just north of Sydney and soon began to try to suckle from a yacht, which it would not leave.

Rescuers towed the boat into open sea hoping that the calf would find another female to suckle from, but the attempt failed and the whale returned to an inlet near Sydney. On Wednesday, another attempt also failed.

The whale has since been trying to suckle from other boats.

Sad sight

“It sounded like a bit of a vacuum cleaner on the bottom of the boat. I finally got up and here’s this whale suckling the side of the boat,” sailor Peter Lewis told a commercial radio station.

“It was a very, very sad sight. It did it for about an hour, going from side to side on the boat and at times blowing air under the boat, and it just seemed to give a sigh out at one stage as if, you know, ‘this isn’t working’.”

Chris McIntosh, a spokesman for the Department of National Parks and Wildlife, told AFP that the whale probably hadn’t had food for about five days and was getting weaker.

Euthanasia was “the most likely outcome, but we are not at that point yet”, he said.

It’s funny how the same thing can elicit such different emotions from people. Whales, who doesn’t like them? … that was rhetorical.

The irony is, while Sydney agonises over the fate of this whale calf, Japan’s whale-killing mob is revving up to put political spanners in the anti-whale killing works. This, after using humpbacks to blackmail the rest of the IWC during the latest IWC summit to allow it to continue killing endangered fin whales in the next whale-killing season. This, despite voices of dissension among its own, particularly Shigeko Misaki, a former advisor to the Japan Whaling Association and the former counsel for the Institute for Cetacean Research or ICR (Japanese government FUNDED unnecessary whale research by KILLING them institute) who says:

“…I now find myself retired and severed from much of the controversy over whaling. However, internet reports of whaling “progress” thus far persuade me that this season is the most opportune time for Japan’s government to decide to withdraw all whaling operations from the Southern Ocean.”

“I say this because I believe that pelagic whaling does not contribute to the prevention of global warming. Just think of the expensive fuel the Japanese whaling fleet consumes en route to the Antarctic, plus that consumed by the freezing ship for transporting the byproducts of whaling to the Japanese market. Over the years, Japanese research ships have made a mess on the ocean when fire broke out due to poor management of the vessel. Add to that the mess made by animal rights groups eager to attack the whaling ships. Whaling as a business hardly justifies the environmental costs. Talk about ‘food mileage’ has not touched on whale meat. Why doesn’t the government consider it more seriously, and cease whaling in any form, except small-scale coastal whaling?”

Never mind the insanity and stubbornness of hiding behind the limpid excuse of culture and heritage. The important question is: can the voice of reason, the compassion of logic prevail against the hell-bent whale-killers of the world?

What can we do to help bring about that outcome?

Getting street smart in Guangzhou

Singapore has had a properly researched and duly annotated paper on an honest-to-goodness real-life TNRM project right here in Singapore, by no less than a high-ranking staff of the AVA. And yet, the cat massacre of 2003 happened, thanks to figety men-in-power who jumped because of the word ‘cat’ in the source of the SARS virus – civet cats. To-date, we’re still pussy-footing about the issue of effective homeless animal population control. How much more love/hate, lazy AND ignorant can Singapore get with TNRM?

But look at this post in the animalsasia blog. If even this doesn’t show the logic, compassion and beauty of TNRM, we humans have evolved the biggest brain of all Earth’s creatures past and present in vain. Even more amazing is the fact this is about cats in Guangzhou, the cat, dog and exotic meat eating capital of China, if not the world. Authorities of Singapore, are you listening? Really listening?

Street cats in Guangzhou (the cat-eating capital of China) have a second chance thanks to an amazing group working there on the ground (helped by much-needed funds from Animals Asia).

Previously, as the population of strays began to grow, residents were complaining about the noise and the smell, and many took the matter into their own hands by killing the cats.

Enter Xixi Cat volunteers who literally scooped these animals off the streets, and took them to local vet, Dr John Wu, for a quick de-sexing surgery, before releasing them back into the community. So far, 28 neutered cats have been put back on the streets and a recent survey now shows a staggering 96% support for the trap, neuter, release programme from the local residents! Please click here to read more about this fabulous work – showing how cats and the community can live in harmony!

China bans dog from Olympic menu

Dogs are getting a very temporary reprieve from slaughter in Beijing due to the Olympics. A farcical and pretentious gesture, especially since cats and dogs are being culled in the name of the Games. Is offence at the cruelty of dog (AND cat meat eating) limited to non-Chinese during the Olympic season?


As you may have read recently, China has ordered dog meat to be taken off the menu at its 112 official Olympic restaurants in Beijing in order to avoid offending foreign visitors. Restaurant workers have been advised to suggest other options to diners who order dog and Xinhua, China’s official news agency has reported that any restaurant found violating the ban will be black-listed. The ban forbids all designated Olympic restaurants from offering dog and urges other food outlets to remove the meat from menus, for the duration of the games.

Animals Asia welcomes the ban and has asked the Chinese authorities to issue a permanent ban on dog and cat eating in recognition that it is not just foreigners offended by the practice, but Chinese citizens too.

You can read our recent Press Release on the issue here and view our two Community Service Video’s here and hereIf you are traveling to China this year, please help its dogs and cats by refusing to support the industry that so cruelly tortures and slaughters them.

The same measure was adopted during Seoul 1988, but today, TWO decades later, alongside China, Korea still shares the disgrace of being a dog and cat eating nation. Animal death camps, whether in China or elsewhere cause the same suffering.

As with such issues, armchair critics do tend to take potshots without thinking things through or looking first in their own backyards. So I’ll add here a quote and ask anyone who wants to condemn all of China wholesale, to please make sure you’re not abetting this atrocity:

Undercover videos taken for Swiss Animal Protection, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, and the Humane Society show Chinese dogs and cats trucked to market without food and water, pulled from their cages, sometimes disemboweled, sometimes bashed on the ground to stun them, then hanged by wires, and skinned alive. These investigations led to a ban on the importation of dog and cat fur to the United States, Australia and a few countries in the Europe Union in the early 2000s. A full EU ban will take effect on Jan. 1, 2009.

These steps haven’t ended the killing. A 2008 investigation by the Humane Society revealed that Chinese dog and cat fur continues to be exported to Russia, where it’s turned into clothing and figurines. Since borders are porous, and only a DNA test can reveal the difference between the fur of domestic and wild species, the trade from China to Russia and on to other countries continues.

Set against the great human persecutions that China supports, the loss of these 2 million dogs and cats may seem insignificant. Nonetheless, each one of them is a life, full of consciousness and joy, as anyone who has lived with a dog or cat knows. Many of them are pets, mourned by Chinese families. It’s one more shadow cast by the Olympic flame.


An Olympic Disgrace

The current spotlight on China’s human rights record fails to illuminate its cruel and inhumane treatment of dogs and cats.

By Ted Kerasote


‘Other countries’ where fur products land up include Singapore, my home country just 1 degree north of the equator.

If you think babies are cute, you’ll love sun bear cubs

(If you find this post informative, you might like to check out these.)

Am I puppy cute
Cute baby sun bear

Or am I cuter?
Cute baby sun bear

Please visit the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Program blog, and help me stay with my mummy instead of being orphaned and ending up looking like this, slowly dying.

Sun bear cub suffering in captivity

Look at me after I become a pet. Do I look happy and well-care for? I pace endlessly when I was first captured, bored and stressed and longing for my mummy’s gentle comforting touch.

But I can’t keep it up because I soon lose the will and energy to do anything at all. Would you be happy living like this when you’ve been living free in the forest, with your mother caring for your every need?

Sun bear cub suffering in captivity

This is not life for a sun bear cub. I should be suckling on my mummy for comfort and for my milk, not being frightened, and stressed from watching her butchered and cut up for food, crying with her as she die. It may be lucky for me that I did not end up being eaten myself, but this is no life for a sun bear cub. I will die anyway, and instead of dying a quick frightening death being butchered for food, I die a slow painful lonely death. How many more will be brought into this prison to take my place?

Sun bear baby suffering in captivity

Please help, there are very few sun bears left in the wild.

The Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Program blog is founded and managed by Mr Wong Siew Te who has studied and helped sun bears for a very long time already.

Mr Wong Siew Te and an orphan sun bear cub

Please see Mr Budak‘s post, Bears from bikes too. It is about a movie about bears and our situation now. Mr Budak says it so much better, and faster, than little me.

(If you find this post informative, you might like to check out these.)

Related posts:

Disaster Relief – Where does your help go?

By now, anyone not living in a vacuum would know about the Myanmar cyclone/flood and Chinese earthquake. While China’s situation, though newer, appears to be more manageable due to a more sympathetic and cooperative hand at the helm, the Myanmarese victims are still facing dire conditions. (Though it seems some of Myanmar’s problems are being reenacted)

Everywhere, people are rushing to help and donate, in personal or corporate or governmental capacities. However, with the situation in Myanmar, with aid still slowly trickling in (at the wilfulness of the junta), food and much needed help may not be reaching the victims, or used by the people it is intended for. Even when Burmese extend helping hands, the junta slaps them, and victims receive meagre rations of rotten rice while relief effort-delivered good quality rice was kept for itself. In fact, the Myanmarese rulers continues to seize aid resources while refusing to allow aid workers to enter and do the important work of helping and relieving the suffering of the victims.

Therefore, it is important to channel your aid through effective mediums. Take note especially of Otterman‘s: Mary Callahan on “donations in relief of the disaster in Burma/Myanmar”. Also note this post by mrsbudak:

Aid to Burma

14th May, 2008 at 9:17 AM

baby K, tommy HK stray, MV Agusta Brutale, P plate, Melbourne Aquarium, sian angel, raisin oatmeal, zombie cat, nongla, CNY cat in basin, Angel Mommy, Muffin, Ring, Angel piano, nike shoes, Rasin cookies jar, Angel disapproves, Angel sleeping by Mac, red blue pills, me on bike u-turn, Angel new zombie, cat spit, Angelbox, quietangel, Angel pensive

For those who are keen to donate to help the people of Burma, two posts for consideration:

From [info]elyrie: Burma crisis: an addendum
From the Global Refuge website:

According to GRI’s partners inside Burma, the death total has already hit 100,000 but could be as high as 250,000. This is a more realistic estimate than the official number of 40,000 dead released by the junta government, especially since very little lifesaving aid has reached the people of Burma. Oxfam believes the number could rise to 1.5 million if no aid is allowed into the country…the people of Burma have gathered into more than 700 camps in Yangon and left to cope alone without government help. There is no good drinking water and very limited food available in the camps…
An update from my friend, who is currently in Bangkok:

  • All NGO and UN agencies have been put on delay for visas, and 9 out of every 10 visas are being rejected;
  • GRI is currently moving supplies overland through Thailand into Burma by trucks;
  • Airlift of supplies will begin this week;
  • GRI is one of only two groups granted access to the delta areas, and they are assuming a leadership position in the Logistics cluster with WFP; other agencies such as IMC, Operation USA and IRC are offering resources but GRI is covering transportation and distribution due to their access to the delta areas.

Once again, if you want to give money, please think about helping out GRI – they have people and access within Burma. Most other agencies have resources, but not the kind of distribution network that GRI has.

In Singapore, a woman who donated SGD$100,000 in cash at the Red Cross for the Myanmar efforts. Perhaps the kind woman has done her homework and determined that the Red Cross is the best conduit through she can help the victims. However, while I do not discredit her or the Red Cross, we must remember to look in our own backlaned: we already have the old NKF saga, numerous sequels, and even some questionable fund-raisers to remind us that not everybody works with altruism.

How many Singaporens will continue to blindly donate? Everytime someone cries, whether it is wolf or otherwise, Singaporeans dig into their pockets without asking, like members of a herd docilely changing directions without asking the leader what’s happened to cause the change. I find that disturbing, because not only does doing so runs the risk of enriching only the undeserved, it may even impede the aid process when resources are not channelled effectively. Singaporeans should open their eyes, ask questions, and SEE where their kindness end up.

As ASEAN set to meet on Myanmar aid set on May 19 (how late is this?), and Aid Begins to Reach Myanmar Cyclone Survivors at last, we must not forget the animal victims either. WSPA is trying to provide aid to the animal victims. Please help if you can, because while no doubt humanity place emphasis on the succour of the human victims, the animal victims have their place in the victims’ lives, especially in the aftermath:

Philip Russell MBE, WSPA’s Director of Disaster Management, said: “No-one else, Governments, humanitarian NGOs or owners have the resources to care for these animals, most of which are owned by poor impoverished families. If those that survived die, so too will the livelihoods of thousands of people.”

He added that, as WSPA so often finds, when operating in emergencies many families will have or be in the process of selling off their remaining livestock at severely reduced prices to ensure some monetary value for immediate subsistence, mainly because they cannot now keep them alive.

Advertisements and animals

Filched from Dawn’s blog.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Advertisements and animals

Interesting that there are rules in India governing the use of animals in advertisements to ensure that they are not treated cruelly.

If we had similar laws here, I just wonder how that milk powder ad which featured a kid picking up a kitten drenched in the rain would be judged.