Chicken culling issue raises need for more awareness

Carolyn Khew, The Straits Times AsiaOne 3 Feb 17;

The recent culling of chickens by the authorities here highlights the constant tension between animal lovers and those who are less enamoured by them, said Minister for Social and Family Development Tan Chuan-Jin yesterday.

"It's a very real issue. It's not just about chickens. It's about dogs, cats and pets in general," said Mr Tan.

"We live in close proximity... Many people are pet lovers but there are people who also don't like pets. We need to exercise mutual understanding and give and take."

He added that some members of the public could be uncomfortable with certain animals due to lack of information, and that more awareness is needed.

He was speaking at an Acres (Animal Concerns Research and Education Society) event to rehome Rahayu, the endangered turtle.

The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) killed 24 free-roaming chickens in Sin Ming after residents made 20 noise complaints last year.

While some viewed the birds as a nuisance, others were upset to see them go.

The AVA said that Pasir Ris and Thomson residents had also complained last year about noise from free-ranging chickens; and that it would take action whenever it receives noise complaints.

Member of Parliament for Nee Soon GRC and Acres founder and chief executive officer Louis Ng said yesterday that instead of culling chickens, the authorities should look into other solutions, such as relocating the animals or putting them up for adoption.

"Ultimately, euthanasia is still the worst option," he said.

"Let's get an accurate sense of what's happening on the ground," he added, pointing out that 20 complaints could have come from one or two people calling repeatedly.

Editorial: Crying foul over Sin Ming fowl cull
Jonathan Roberts The New Paper 4 Feb 17;

I doubt if it's any fun being an urban chicken today. These creatures appear twitchily paranoid at the best of times, but now?

A few days ago, the authorities culled - or euthanised - chickens roaming around Thomson View and Blocks 452 to 454 at Sin Ming Avenue after Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority received 20 complaints from residents - mostly about noise.

National Parks Board is also considering a cull if there's a threat of interbreeding between these wild chickens and the native - and endangered - red junglefowl.

When it comes to protecting the endangered species, I hope there's also an active breeding programme beyond killing (humanely) amorous roosters from the wrong side of the tracks.

So why are people crying foul over the fowl? Especially considering the most consideration we usually give to chicken is choosing between original or crispy.

Part of it is the seeming lack of solutions. If there's a problem with wildlife encroaching on our urban world, death (euthanasia if you like) seems to be the only game in town.

And to be honest, I was not aware that chickens had reached pest status here.

Hence the questions of how hard is it to relocate chickens? The breed is not renowned for its homing ability.

The perception is that the cull was over noise more than any health or environmental issue.

It could be argued that if these wild chickens posed that much of a health issue, why were they not dealt with after the first complaint?

Nee Soon GRC MP Louis Ng has also asked why the options are limited to one. He also added the vital question, how far were the complaints investigated?

There may have been 20 complaints but were they from 20 complainants, or merely one or two?

Even if that many complained, just as many residents, if not more, might have enjoyed having the chickens roam around.

After all, they keep to themselves and give a kampung vibe.

This is not to say the people living there did not have a problem with the noise. But was their grievance mediated in some way?

We have to have some balance and accept that other creatures live in our environment.

Frankly, I'm glad that some restraint has been applied to other supposedly "annoying" fauna, such as the otters.

Their return to our shores show how much healthy the environment is.

But if those who initially voiced concerns - aside from the owners of devoured koi on Sentosa - had their way, they would just be a memory by now.

We are fortunate enough to live in a city that still balances modernity with nature.

And while we are a small island and the ecosystem has to be kept in balance, we have to accept that with the greenery comes animals.

But if we are to continue on this path of a singular solution, I have 20 complaints about people talking in the cinema.

Who do I talk to about getting them seen to?

No comments:

Post a Comment