I attended the Singapore Animal Welfare Symposium on Sat, 25 Feb 2012. I found out about this rather late, less than a week before the event, but still registered as I was rather interested to hear the parts about Wildlife Trafficking and Zoo animal welfare.
The programme can be found on the Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (ACRES) website here, and Gladys Chua and I live-tweeted the symposium. You can read the tweets that were compiled by Gladys on Storify here.
It was my first time attending this symposium, or any event regarding animal welfare, as I’m usually more concerned about biodiversity conservation than animal welfare. Not that I don’t care about animal welfare, it matters to me too! Just that I doubt I’ll build a career on it… But anyway, the mood was noticeably different from the Biodiversity of Singapore Symposium that I attended last September. My reflections on that symposium here. There was a lot more tension and disappointment, especially during the pet welfare segment. People were glad (I assume), to be given a platform on which to voice their opinions. Yet the answers given by the authorities (namely the Agri-Food & Vetinerary Authority (AVA), because that’s the main public agency that deals with such matters. And also because that’s who most of the questions were targeted at.) were non-answers, in my opinion. They didn’t quite answer the question, and in the end, you just get this sense that it’s all just talk. The people were heard, but the-powers-that-be don’t seem to listen. But of course, I’m hoping to be proved wrong.
I also voiced a question during the public forum: Is economic trade a reason why we may not be so quick to act on banning trade on endangered wildlife/strictly enforcing legislation? The answer wasn’t very clear to me, but in summary it was a ‘we will not disregard wildlife concerns for economic reasons’ [note: not exact phrasing, because I can’t remember it word for word] I’m not too sure about that though, because trade is very important to Singapore, and the answer was not convincing.
But in any case, being able to have such a platform to air views and discuss such issues is already progression, and as long as there are people who are concerned, I’m sure there will be change, eventually.
The symposium was also reported in The Sunday Times “Govt to tackle pet welfare” (no link, because The Straits Times is annoying and doesn’t allow users to read most articles for free online) and in Today on Sunday “A national pet adoption centre?” (yay for Today).