Friday, February 29, 2008

Yours Truly, Uniquely Singapore (15)

I was dismayed when I read that more families are buying hamsters and guinea pigs to mark the year of the rat. I still remember the day I rescued two cages of 7 hamsters from being thrown away into the huge rubbish bin at Pacific Mansion. Someone had conveniently dumped the cages in the lift lobby and the cleaner had also conveniently taken them away to be thrown into the huge bin amidst all the rubbish. Mind you. It was not dead hamsters that were being thrown away, but 7 active and lively hamsters! The apathy and cruelty! I wonder how many hamsters will suffer the same fate this year, when owners and their children lose their interest and novelty.

Yesterday, I read about more pedigree dogs being dumped by owners who had initially paid thousands of dollars for these pets. The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) wrote to the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) last week for call for tighter restrictions on the import, breeding and sale of pedigree dogs. The number of lost or unwanted pedigree dogs rose from 30 to 50 per cent over the past two years.

I am sad that the AVA said it would not be appropriate to restrict the number and type of dogs imported, bred and sold, because Singapore is a free economy. If Singapore is a free economy, then why restrict the sale of certain drugs? The reason why certain drugs are prohibited and punishment is severely meted out to drug pushers is because of man's irresponsibility. Likewise, we have a problem here, and though it is not of earth shaking significance, it is troubling enough. How many thousands of dollars are thrown away when owners spend huge sums of money on a short term fancy of 4 legged creatures? Worse, so much suffering is inflicted on innocent animals who could not express their pain and trauma? The unnecessary amount of money spent on short term fancy of keeping pets could be donated to the poor and needy! As an animal lover, I do not begrudge money spent on pets which provide happinesss and meaningful relationship. In fact, having pets at home can be therapeutic for owners, as it has been established that pet owners have lower blood pressure and generally better health.

So many campaigns have been carried out by the SPCA and AVA for responsible pet ownership, but it looks like they have not been successful. Perhaps the Ministry of Education should look into a compulsory curriculum for primary 5 students : Living peacefully on planet earth with other living things.

During the year of the dog, the sale of dogs increased many times. Likewise, the sale of hamsters and guinea pigs this year. Am I relieved that there is no elephant in the Chinese zodiac!!

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