Inculcating in young people a respect for animals

The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) thanks Kelly Teoh Chuan Ying for her letter ("Teach Singaporeans to care for animals"; Voices of Youth, last Wednesday).

We agree that more can be done in terms of legislation, education and awareness to raise the standard of animal welfare in Singapore.

We strongly advocate that if anyone wants a pet, they should choose to adopt rather than buy.

Many animals at our shelter are victims of impulse buys, because their owners did not first consider the responsibilities and commitment of pet ownership.

The SPCA has been conducting educational talks at schools and other organisations for more than 30 years, raising awareness about animal welfare issues and emphasising the lifetime of commitment required in caring for pets.

Our education programme also incorporates visits to the SPCA and exhibitions. Last year, we gave 82 educational talks to more than 50,000 people.

In 2005, we launched our Animal Kind book, a ground-breaking publication on animal welfare education for primary school pupils.

This resource is Singapore's first teaching tool aimed at educating children on appreciating and respecting animals in a fun, interesting and informative way.

In 2014, the Ministry of Education confirmed the inclusion of animal welfare in the new Character and Citizenship Education curriculum for primary and secondary school students.

The SPCA applauds this initiative to inculcate a respect for animals in our young, leading to more responsible behaviour in terms of acquiring and keeping pets, and towards those animals that share the environment with us.

Finally, if anyone is interested in learning more about our education programmes, they can contact 6287-5355 or e-mail education@spca.org.sg

A digital copy of the Animal Kind book can be downloaded from http://spca.org.sg/pdf/animalkind.pdf

Jaipal Singh Gill (Dr)

Acting Executive Director

Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 30, 2016, with the headline 'Inculcating in young people a respect for animals'. Print Edition | Subscribe