The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) in Singapore receives about 350 reports a year of animal cruelty. This figure is huge when we consider the small population in this tiny island.
The rampant cruelty inflicted on voiceless animals in Singapore is outrageous and appalling. In recent times, people have witnessed a Pomeranian being slammed repeatedly, on its leash, against a wall to its death. It must have suffered a traumatic life and then an agonising death!
There was also an investigation into eight rabbits being confined indefinitely in a small cage by an owner to stop them from mating. They were squashed like sardines, with no room to move. Imagine living like this every single minute of every day!
These acts of cruelty go on everyday and many go unreported. Hence, these innocent, lovely creatures have the most unpleasant and painful experience living here on earth – with us. Like us, they just want to have a decent life, be loved, and be free to roam around without being subjected to all manner of abuse.
Animal abuse is worrying and is a terribly sad reflection of the level of civilisation within our society. In essence, animal abuse is the inappropriate use of one’s power to exploit a weaker being that cannot defend itself. It has parallels with child abusers and rapists inflicting their violence on those who are vulnerable. Their victims are powerless and the offenders consequently torture them for their own selfish, sadistic pleasures.
While they cannot speak in ways that humans can understand, animals definitely possess human attributes – the ability to love and the capacity to feel pain. Animals love and hurt, just like humans. Therefore they cannot be treated as mere toys that can be tossed around.
Animals’ inability to communicate their suffering in words therefore imposes on us humans a stronger moral obligation to discern their cries of pain, and seek redress on their behalf. In other words, we need to be their voice!
The sad plight of animals in our society provides Singaporeans with a ready platform to be that voice and take some serious action. We need to shake off this convenient apathy.
As Australian Professor Mirko Bagaric aptly puts it, “By humanising animals, we will go a long way towards civilising people.”
In Singapore, cruelty to animals is a crime under s 42 of the Animals and Birds Act and offenders can be subject to a fine of $10,000 and/or 12 month imprisonment.
Let’s not ignore acts of animal cruelty and say it is none of our business. In fact, it is our business because any act of animal cruelty is a crime perpetrated within our society. Our silence will encourage offenders to continue torturing animals.
Here are some simple things we can do when we see animals being tortured or neglected.
- Immediately report the incident to the police and/or SPCA (tel 6287-5355) for investigation. However it may be difficult to prove your case. Therefore, try the following steps.
- Evidence, evidence, evidence! By all means gather the appropriate photographic or video evidence. This can be done easily and readily with the camera/video features on mobile phones. Evidence is vitally important to support a case and it provides alternative and more effective courses of action.
- With the evidence, send it to the police and SPCA.
- If nothing happens and the offender gets away with it, publish the evidence on YouTube, and use the viral qualities of social media to name and shame the offender. This may consequently prompt the relevant authorities to act.
- Organise a petition among friends, colleagues and likeminded people to the relevant authorities, including your local Member for Parliament and the Minister for National Development, Khaw Boon Wan.
- Organise an international petition via Care2 petition site.
Over the longer term, probably the best way to go about minimising animal cruelty is via various school and public education programs. There is also scope to mandate all pet-owners to have licences so as to sift out those who are unlikely, or do not know how, to treat animals properly eg those with a history of violence.
Further details can be found in the blog of Daisy Chee at http://daisychee.wordpress.com
Please stand up for the welfare of these beautiful animals. Every little effort goes a long way.