Friday, 19 January 2018

Animal rights activists need to be more circumspect

I agree with Mr Ong Junkai on the need to moderate the mindsets of radical animal rights activists (Curb radical animal rights activists; Jan 16).

In this light, I would like to highlight the recent stir from an Instagram post by MP Baey Yam Keng, who warned residents about stray dogs in Tampines.

It was an innocuous post for residents to be on the lookout, for their own safety.

However, because of concerns that the authorities would take note of the stray dogs and put them to sleep, there was a backlash by animal lovers and activists, who criticised Mr Baey and called him names online.

They also insulted netizens who approved of Mr Baey's post.

It is ironic that these activists respect animals but do not accord decency to fellow human beings.

These activists adopted an extreme stance towards animal welfare, and did not consider co-existence - striking a balance between their fervour for animals and the safety of people.

It was right of Mr Baey to warn residents about the stray dogs. After all, he has a responsibility as an MP to ensure the residents' safety.

Unless these activists agree to moderate their discourse and settle issues amicably, they ought to be curbed by the authorities before they pose a threat to society's harmony.

Sean Lim
ST Forum, 18 Jan 2018

I have gone through all the comments to my previous post and I’m heartened to know that there are many of you who care for the stray dogs. As seen in the video clip which I received from a resident, there are several dogs and some residents will be concerned (in fact, the Town Council has received several emails asking for action). As their MP, it is my duty to assure them. I shared the AVA advisory so that residents know how to react and not cause undue distress to the dogs. For example, if people start running away from the dogs, the dogs may chase them and give the wrong impression they are being aggressive. Residents’ safety is important and AVA as the national agency for wild animals has to be alerted. In Feb 2017, then SMS Desmond Lee said in Parliament that AVA takes a multi-pronged approach to manage the animal population and mitigate health and safety concerns. It first undertakes a professional assessment of potential threats that animals might pose to public health and safety. AVA will have to act if there significant health and safety concerns. Where feasible, it will work with stakeholders, including the animal welfare groups and organisations to relocate and rehome these animals. Culling is not the first action and used ONLY as a last resort. In fact, AVA just rolled out a Trap Neuter and Release Program. Please be assured that Tampines does not support culling of dogs. We will work with animal welfare groups to foster and re-home these animals. If you know of anyone who can help, do let me know. Thanks.
A post shared by Baey Yam Keng 马炎庆 (@baeyyamkeng) on

Curb radical animal rights activists

Animal welfare and animal rights are fundamentally different in their perspectives and agendas.

Animal welfare represents all aspects of animal well-being, which includes proper housing, management, disease prevention and treatment, responsible care, humane handling, and, when necessary, humane euthanasia.

The concept of animal rights is that animals have rights similar to humans'. True advocates of animal rights believe that humans do not have the right to use animals at all.

They believe that harassment, misinformation and publicity stunts are valid uses of funding donated to their organisations.

Very often, animal welfare is used as a guise to push forward animal rights agendas, even though they are totally different in nature.

Animal rights activism is a growing problem in Singapore.

These activists' coercion and intimidation tactics have caused irreversible harm to many industries dealing with animals.

Examples are when people are coerced to give up their legal pets even when regulatory authorities find no compromise on animal welfare.

It is never good to force ideologies on others, and the authorities should not be easily swayed by acts of emotion by these advocates.

This has to be addressed very seriously.

Animal rights activists and environmental activists have been labelled the No. 1 domestic terrorism threat in America.

Steps need to be taken to moderate such radical thinking and prevent it from turning into a form of domestic terrorism in Singapore.

Ong Junkai
ST Forum, 16 Jan 2018

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