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To keep wild animals is to neglect their welfare

Wild animals are in no way suitable to be pets in our urban lifestyle. By advocating for a legal wildlife trade, one blatantly ignores the welfare of these wild animals (Expand list of animals allowed as pets, by Mr Ong Junkai; June 11)

Over the years, the Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (Acres) has rescued more than 400 exotic wild animals in Singapore, most of which had been abandoned or released.

Since 2015, we have rescued 25 sugar gliders and 18 hedgehogs abandoned in residential areas.

Many of these animals were either dead on arrival, or had serious health issues resulting from dietary complications and abandonment.

Like all wild animals, whether or not they are captive-bred, they have varied needs that are almost impossible to provide for in captivity.

Even the legally allowed red-eared sliders are found in every public freshwater pond in Singapore, as a result of abandonment.

It is also misleading to think that there are no health risks related to keeping reptiles or wild animals.

The United States Centres for Disease Control and Prevention has warned of turtle-associated salmonellosis in humans.

Expanding the list of pet animals is not a marker of progress, as it neglects the welfare concerns of animals and health concerns of humans.

We are thankful to the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority for its enforcement against the illegal wildlife trade and the legislation that protects most wild animals from being kept as pets.

Sumita Thiagarajan (Ms)

Education Executive

Animal Concerns Research and Education Society

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on June 18, 2017, with the headline To keep wild animals is to neglect their welfare. Subscribe