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.


One response to “Today 20080821: Why culling is necessary? …

  1. I read with much interest of the 6th paragraph (of the letter from Mr. Goh) where it is mentioned that “… have to be put down HUMANELY.”

    I really wonder how HUMANE is the way AVA terminate their lives? I ask so because I have heard so much horror stories of (the much “speculated”) caged-drenched-electrocuted mean of HUMANE killing.

    If this is indeed the way, the public need to understand the “unHUMANE” truth of it so that they will think harder before they called the AVA for stray control!

    So really, does anyone know the truth of execution?

    BTW, my first post here. Great blog!