Only a minority support culling of stray animals: Poll

NEO CHAI CHIN Today Online 6 Apr 15;

SINGAPORE — Only a minority of Singa­poreans agree with the culling of stray or wild animals and more than half of them support harsher penalties for possession and smuggling of endangered species, according to a survey by a wildlife advocacy group and a brand consultancy.

The survey, said to be the most comprehensive poll done on animal protection issues to date, polled 600 Singa­poreans in January.

Only 13 to 14 per cent of respondents agreed that culling of stray dogs, wild monkeys and wild boars should be allowed. About 31 to 44 per cent — felt culling should be banned, while the remainder were neutral.

The survey was done by wildlife advocacy group, Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (ACRES), and brand and media consultancy Millward Brown. The respondents were recruited by a fieldwork agency and the survey was in line with market research standards, said Ms Cassandra Tan, an account manager at Millward Brown.

Of the respondents, 62 per cent were aged between 18 and 34, while 30 per cent were aged between 35 and 54. Five per cent were aged 17 and below, while 4 per cent were aged 55 and above.

ACRES chief executive Louis Ng said the survey was intended to obtain baseline data and that the aim was for the poll to be conducted annually. Due to public complaints, stray animals continue to be culled in Singa­pore. However, the survey showed that complaints come from a minority of people, he said.

Nearly eight in 10 of the respondents agreed that animal protection was important to them.

On whether the Government is doing enough to protect animals, 24 per cent disagreed, 36 per cent agreed, while 40 per cent were neutral.

However, more than half of the respondents felt those who smuggle endangered animal species should face harsher penalties, while only 5 per cent disagreed.

Mr Ng said the results were encouraging and ACRES could now work to address the concerns of those who support culling. Subsequent surveys would indicate if various policies are working, he added.

ACRES will announce its plans at a later date.

“We’re not saying, let’s change policies (immediately). But we’re saying, as you’ve seen in the past few years, let’s start pilot programmes,” said Mr Ng.

The cat ownership pilot project in Chong Pang, for instance, could be extended to Marine Parade. And Mr Ng expressed hope that the trap-neuter-release-and-manage programme for stray dogs on Jurong Island would be rolled out islandwide, if successful.

ACRES hopes to explore long-term humane solutions with government agencies that will address public and animal-protection concerns, he said.

When contacted by TODAY, the Agri-food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) said public safety and health is its first priority in the management of stray animals, even while it works with other stakeholders on public education, surveillance and other measures. It supports rehoming and relocation efforts and said animals are humanely euthanised only as a last resort.

Last year, the AVA received 750 pieces of feedback on monkey-related issues and, to ensure public safety, removed aggressive or nuisance-causing monkeys. Studies have shown that these animals cannot be simply relocated as they may be driven out or killed if placed in areas where other monkeys are living. The AVA added that indiscriminate release transfers problems from one estate to another.

The authority received 2,500 pieces of feedback on stray dogs last year and said stray dogs should be rehomed. Last year, 280 were rehomed, compared with 170 in 2013. Impounded dogs that cannot be rehomed are euthanised as a last resort, it said.

The AVA also called on animal lovers to be mindful of the interests of others who may not share the same views.

Minority of Singaporeans support culling of animals: ACRES
Nadia Jansen Hassan Channel NewsAsia 6 Apr 15;

SINGAPORE: Only a minority of people in Singapore support the culling of animals, according to a survey by the Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (ACRES) released on Monday (Apr 6).

ACRES partnered brand and communications consultants Millward Brown Singapore for the survey which saw 600 Singaporean respondents. It showed that only 14 per cent of them agreed to the culling of stray dogs. Similarly, only 13 per cent and 14 per cent of respondents agreed to the culling of monkeys and wild pigs, respectively.

"The results are very encouraging. It really shows that Singaporeans do care about animals, and that animal protection is very important to them," said ACRES Chief Executive Louis Ng. "But it also reveals that there is actually only a minority of people that are complaining, that are asking for the culling of these animals, and that the vast majority are actually okay with having these animals, or coexisting with the animals."

In addition, 5 per cent of the respondents were not supportive of harsher penalties for trading of endangered animals. But just 36 per cent of the respondents felt that the Government is doing enough to protect animals.

"We look forward towards working closely with the Government on exploring and implementing alternative long-term humane solutions that will address both public and animal protection concerns," said Mr Ng.

Other findings of the survey included 79 per cent of the respondents agreeing that animal protection is important to them, and that 49 per cent felt that the consumption of shark’s fin should be banned.

There was also stronger support from younger respondents on animal protection issues.

"Eighty-three per cent of Gen Y Singaporeans (aged 18 to 34), as compared to 70 per cent of Gen X Singaporeans (aged 35 to 54), agree that animal protection is important to them," said ACRES.

ACRES said it might be because they use social media more frequently, which means they are exposed to more information that could affect how they react to such issues.


SOSD, formerly known as "Save Our Street Dogs", has been stepping up efforts to avoid culling. SOSD believes sterilisation is an effective way to curb the stray population.

Said SOSD President, Dr Siew Tuck Wah: "Animal welfare groups work very hard with stray feeders on the ground to catch animals - stray animals, homeless animals - sterilise them and return them to where they are. By doing this, it prevents the dogs from reproducing and prevents their numbers from increasing."

"Culling does not help. By culling, the new animals will replace the numbers that have been taken away, therefore the numbers will never decrease," he said.

SOSD has also been rehoming more dogs as another alternative to culling. It rehomed 160 dogs in 2014 - an increase from the previous year's 130.

- CNA/ct/xq

Acres survey finds little support for animal culling
Feng Zengkun The Straits Times AsiaOne 7 Feb 15;

Stray dogs, wild pigs and monkeys may have been in the news for wandering near homes and disturbing people, but only a small minority of people actually want the animals killed.

In fact, a substantial group of people think the authorities should be banned from culling the animals, while a slightly larger proportion are on the fence.

These were some of the findings of a survey commissioned by the Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (Acres).

The animal welfare group had approached consultancy firm Millward Brown Singapore to conduct an independent survey of Singaporeans from Jan 26 to Feb 8, to better understand their thoughts about animal protection here.

The firm did so pro bono.

Of the 600 people who filled out an online survey form, less than 15 per cent said culling should be allowed when asked about each of the animals.

About half of the respondents - 42 per cent to 55 per cent - could not decide.

Acres chief executive Louis Ng said the results were encouraging, as they showed "a strong sense of compassion" among Singaporeans. While the authorities justified killing the animals in the past due to complaints and public safety risks, "the findings show the complaints are from a minority of Singaporeans", Mr Ng added.

He said the survey, which he called the first comprehensive public survey on animal protection issues here, would help Acres and other animal welfare and conservation groups to refine their strategies. The results, for example, showed that some people support culling the animals because of public hygiene and health risks.

"We want to work on strategies that will address these concerns so that, hopefully, when we do this survey again, the number of people who support culling would have dropped," he said.

He added that the wide swathe of undecided people was another opportunity. "We can engage these people and better understand why they do or do not support culling, and change our strategies accordingly," he said.

Acres said it plans to do the survey annually.

Several questions got people to respond about their feelings on anti-culling statements such as "I feel that stray dog culling should not be allowed".

Asked if this might have led to biased results, a Millward Brown representative said it had wanted a scaled question format - with which people could agree, disagree or be on the fence - for more nuanced results.

The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority received 750 cases of feedback regarding monkey-related issues last year, including nuisance and safety concerns, compared with 1,860 for 2013.

Mr Benjamin Ng, 66, a retired mathematics lecturer, said the survey might have shown more support for culling monkeys if it had focused on areas where there are many of the animals.

He lives in a Bukit Timah condominium where the residents, until last year, experienced many problems caused by the monkeys.

"If you don't live in an area where you are affected by the monkeys, of course you're not going to support culling them," he said. He said he was on the fence about killing the animals.
"There are other ways to control the monkeys rather than killing them. But if they are really overrunning a place, some culling may be needed," he said.