Forum: Pet industry stands to benefit from a negative list of animals

Deregulation of the pet industry in Singapore is needed for its immediate diversification and growth.

A negative list of injurious, dangerous and invasive groups of animals should be created, and those that are not listed should be allowed.

Many of the largest pet industries in the world work on the basis of such a negative list.

The pet trade in Singapore is based on a positive list, whereby any species not listed is deemed illegal.

Such a practice has been very damaging to an industry that is diverse and has unlimited potential. Entrepreneurial spirit is killed because for new pets to be legalised, proposals need to be submitted and many meetings have to be held. And if a species is legalised, this would benefit not only the entrepreneur who submitted the proposals, but also his competitors.

The current legislation against certain groups of animals - such as insects, reptiles and most other cold-blooded animals - unfortunately hints at speciesism, whereby these groups of animals are considered unimportant.

Ideal pet species in a high-density urban setting are those that can be contained on personal property, which lowers the risk of any disease spread to the community.

Pets that do not disturb the peace in the community should be promoted.

Dogs, cats and birds make up the majority of complaints due to noise or other forms of public disturbance such as scent marking.

Cold-blooded animals including frogs or geckos are easily contained in enclosures, and are much better choices to be companion animals, as they are far less likely to spread severe diseases to humans compared with conventional warm-blooded pets.

In choosing a pet, consideration should be given to minimise inconvenience to others living in close proximity.

Ong Junkai

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