AVA launches code of animal welfare for pet owners

The code, believed to be the first of its kind in Singapore, takes effect on Thursday (June 15). It could advocate more responsible pet ownership for animals like Cola, a six-year-old poodle, pictured at animal shelter Voices for Animals.
The code, believed to be the first of its kind in Singapore, takes effect on Thursday (June 15). It could advocate more responsible pet ownership for animals like Cola, a six-year-old poodle, pictured at animal shelter Voices for Animals.ST FILE PHOTO

SINGAPORE - A code of animal welfare for pet owners was on Thursday (June 15) launched by the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA).

The Code of Animal Welfare (for Pet Owners) is the first of its kind in Singapore and sets out minimum standards for accountability, animal housing and environment, as well as animal management and care.

All pet owners in Singapore are expected to comply with the code. While it is not an offence if pet owners fail to meet a minimum standard in the code, such failures can be used to support prosecution or other enforcement actions for animal welfare cases.

Some guidelines laid out in the code include making sure not to leave your pet anywhere without proper arrangements for its care, securing doors and gates to prevent pets from escaping, providing a well-ventilated and clean environment, and making a missing pet report if your pet is lost.

The code for pet owners takes effect on Thursday and comes eight months after the Code of Animal Welfare for the Pet Industry was launched in October last year.

Ms Veron Lau, who is a committee member on the Multi-Stakeholder Collaboration Committee for Animal Welfare (MSCC) which drafted both codes, told The Straits Times on Thursday that the new code was a good step towards responsible pet ownership.

 
 

"This is a step in the right direction in ensuring that more pet owners are keeping their pets responsibly," she said. " It's definitely a good step to let pet owners know what are the basic standards they need to adhere to when they keep a pet."

Ms Lau, who is also a committee member on Cat Welfare Society, said that she also hopes the new code will help address issues CWS faces, such as less abandonment and less cases of neglect.

AVA's chief executive Tan Poh Hong said the issuing of the code is another step forward for animal welfare in Singapore.

"Owning a pet is a lifelong commitment and AVA has always advocated responsible pet ownership," she said. "With the Code, pet owners will now have an official guide that explains their responsibilities. We will continue to work closely with pet owners, animal welfare groups and other stakeholders to enhance animal welfare standards in Singapore."

The MSCC, formed in October 2013 and chaired by MP for Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC Alex Yam, discusses views and champions efforts for promoting animal welfare in Singapore.

Its members include MPs, animal welfare groups, pet industry insiders, veterinarians and AVA.