Involve all stakeholders in design of Tengah animal shelters

I agree with Ms Corinne Fong Yuet Ming ("Opportune time to raise animal welfare standards"; Nov 24) that the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority's (AVA) decision to build new spaces for animal shelters to facilitate their move next year is a positive initiative.

However, the AVA needs to have a dialogue with all stakeholders, such as animal welfare groups and independent rescuers, to look at all pertinent issues in the design of the animal shelters.

For instance, the number of animals currently in their care should be considered, and the new living spaces of the animals should be large enough for them to move around freely.

There should be proper ventilation and drainage for hygiene purposes.

Also, there is a need to set aside additional facilities for the shelters to continue running their programmes such as emergency rescue and boarding.

Quarantine areas should be built to prevent the outbreak of deadly diseases. The sharing of common facilities such as dog runs needs to be looked into so as to prevent accidents and misunderstanding.

For commercial breeders and pet farms, the AVA must continue to monitor them and ensure that they adhere to strict regulations.

As animal welfare groups fall under non-governmental organisations, imposing a nominal monthly rental fee on them should suffice in covering the cost of the new facilities.

I urge the AVA to reserve the new premises in Sungei Tengah solely for the affected animal welfare groups and pet farms in Loyang and Seletar. This is to ensure that their work will not be disrupted by future redevelopment plans.

With more resources, these groups can continue their efforts in helping more animals and creating a more compassionate society.

Darren Chan Keng Leong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 26, 2016, with the headline 'Involve all stakeholders in design of Tengah animal shelters'. Print Edition | Subscribe