Saturday, May 8, 2010

Stringent rules in place to ensure animal welfare

Letter to ST Forum
Please include your full name (as in IC), your address and a phone number. For women, please indicate Miss, Mrs or Ms. Send your letters via e-mail: or Fax (65) 6319-8274.

Straits Times Forum
HST Forum
May 8, 2010
Stringent rules in place to ensure animal welfare

I THANK Ms Deirdre Moss of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals ('Impose stricter measures to protect dogs at farms'; April 29) and Ms Tabatha Randall ('If the Government can curb the number of cars on the road, it can restrict the number of dogs imported and monitor farms'; April 29) for their feedback.

The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) does not restrict the number of pets imported, bred and sold commercially as long as the businesses are legal and comply with our regulations. The AVA has put in place stringent regulations for the pet industry to ensure that animal welfare is not compromised.

Pet shop operators are assessed by AVA on their knowledge and experience with animals before the approval of their licence application. These licensed operators are subsequently required to comply with housing and management conditions that safeguard the welfare of the animals. Dog farms are also licensed by AVA, and required to comply with licensing conditions, one of which is that they must have an adequate health-care and disease prevention programme approved by AVA.

AVA conducts regular as well as surprise inspection visits to dog farms and pet shops to ensure that animal welfare standards are adhered to. Enforcement action is taken where there is evidence of breach of conditions.

We are also continuously reviewing and improving our regulations. For example, AVA has worked with the industry to implement compulsory structured formal training for dog farms and pet shops from Jan 1 this year to further enhance their standards and competencies.

As for the farm mentioned by Ms Moss, AVA is currently investigating allegations of animal cruelty against the previous owners. Errant operators can be fined $10,000 or jailed up to 12 months, or both.

The public can help raise the standards by patronising only responsible dog farms and pet shops, and reporting to AVA if they come across any errant pet shop or dog farm.

Goh Shih Yong
Deputy Director, Media Division
For Chief Executive Officer
Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority