Claims misrepresent Singapore's animal protection movement

The letter by Mr Ong Junkai (Curb radical animal rights activists; Jan 16) is a gross misrepresentation of Singapore's animal protection movement.

Mr Ong states that animal rights activists in Singapore "have caused irreversible harm to many industries dealing with animals", but it is not made clear which industries he is referring to.

The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), among other organisations here, has been an advocate against animal exploitation, for example, in the puppy mill industry and the keeping of wildlife in captivity.

There are welfare issues arising from these businesses, which have been shown to cause significant harm to the animals involved, with many animals that have been rescued sometimes found to be in dire need of veterinary treatment.

The reference to radical activists in America and the mention of "domestic terrorism" are a red herring, as these groups carry out violent acts such as firebombing.

This is something that no responsible animal welfare organisation would advocate. Nor is it something that the Singapore authorities would stand for.

On the contrary, the animal welfare movement here respectfully engages with various stakeholders, lobbies for laws and policies to be changed, and raises public awareness in an effort to improve the lives of animals.

The animal welfare movement here respectfully engages with various stakeholders, lobbies for laws and policies to be changed, and raises public awareness in an effort to improve the lives of animals.

While the SPCA wholeheartedly agrees that the movement should be responsible in its activism, and not "harass or intimidate" others as it goes about raising the standards of animal welfare, the claims made in the letter do a disservice to the many good people who advocate better treatment of animals in our society.

Jaipal Singh Gill (Dr)

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 January 22, 2018, with the headline 'Claims misrepresent Singapore's animal protection movement'. Print Edition | Subscribe