Friday, November 27, 2009

AVA - The Exterminator

One would have thought that S'pore Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) would be the active voice in animal welfare. But the reality is far from it.

Many animal care givers associate AVA with animal extermination. This is especially so after the SARS incident where AVA went around killing all stray cats including those sterilised with their ears clipped for identification. These cats were looked after by care givers with the understanding that AVA would leave them alone. These care givers have been looking after their area strays for years. Imagine the emotional turmoil they went through to find them gone.

AVA reputation has never recovered since then. Till today, animals caregivers are wary of them. Even the general public who wanted strays remove from their environment would call SPCA rather than AVA. This is because they trust that SPCA will do it humanely, while they have doubt about AVA. Why ? SPCA staff selection process goes for those who care about animals. AVA ??

There have been reports that AVA rough handled animals subjecting them to unnecessary stressed. Even if these animals are to be ultimately put down, they should be treated humanely and terminated without undue suffering.

AVA's Corporate Vision is - "To be a premier organisation known for our professional expertise...", and some of their goals are :
* Develop a cohesive, innovative and professional workforce.
* Build a positive image and enhance community outreach.
* Promote animal welfare.

Have the organisation live up to its corporate vision and goals ? I think not. How could AVA be professional if instead of advising our government during the SARS period, they acted blindly on instruction given to them ? Civet cat with unconfirmed speculation to be carrier of SARS virus is a raccoon and NOT even a cat. Our innocent cats died because of word association ! Staff in AVA do not know about animal classification ? They are suppose to be the Veterinary Authority in S'pore !

Positive image ? They are S'pore official Animals Exterminator. Their policy regarding termination of strays and abandoned pets has not changed after all these years. They don't even try to get them adopted nor re-home. Only NGO animal welfare groups are struggling to do so.

Promote animal welfare ? Perhaps more to surface dressing. Just like our ministers going around planting trees and reserving carpark lots for their cars. More carbon footprints left behind while promoting a green movement. Then S'pore recent refusal to be part of the global initiative to reduce carbon emission.

If AVA really wants to promote animal welfare, then they should initiate if not actively support other animal welfare organisations trying to get HDB to change its outdated and illogical rule on cats/dogs ownership in public housing. HDB's restrictive rules have resulted in low adoption rate. This means more than 90% of the abandoned animals and strays are put down.

Due to AVA mass culling of cats during SARS, it is hard to erase the misconception that stray cats cause hygiene problem and civet cats carry SARs virus from the public mind, even after so many years. This is because most will think that if such cruel mass killing exercise was carried out by the government authority 'specialising' in animals welfare, then what they said must be true. Sigh..nothing is further from the truth !

Their community outreach has only produced lasting damaging negative consequence. Civet cat is an endanger species, and AVA has further endangered its status by engraving negative image of it in the public mind.

AVA needs to do something positively 'wonderful' in order to regain the trust of animal caregiver community in Singapore.

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