Monday, May 24, 2010

Time to take deterrent action against cruel dog breeders

The Straits Times
ST Forum
May 24, 2010
Time to take deterrent action against cruel dog breeders

THE May 14 feature, 'Good breeding practices urged for dog farms', laid bare the unscrupulous practices of dog breeders on farms.

This was a follow-up to the previously reported case of an owner recently giving up his business and abandoning his 75 breeding dogs.

It is evident that there are breeding farms existing that are substandard when it comes to providing adequate care for their animals, and stronger action and enforcement is necessary to raise the quality of these establishments.

There have been new guidelines and standards introduced by the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA), including compulsory animal management courses. However, dogs are still enduring extreme suffering because of the indifferent and callous attitudes of dog breeders.

Coaxing or warning errant owners and breeders into compliance instead of prosecuting them has encouraged further abuse in the industry.It goes to show that a mere slap on the wrist is no deterrent to improving the poor conditions.

If standards are not up to the mark, then breeders have to be taken to task and enforcement stepped up.

The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) has for some time been advocating to the AVA the revoking of licences of breeders who are cruel to the animals under their care, because only when stronger penalties are meted out can we hope to see standards improve.

AVA officials say the onus should be on the consumers to make an effort to be informed and people should patronise only farms or shops with good standards (that is, self-regulation by the consumers).

The SPCA is of the opinion that the licensing authority - which has the veterinary expertise and access to the breeding animals - should be the one to urgently raise the industry standards.

In the interest of animal welfare, AVA, as the veterinary authority, has the mandate to ensure the humane treatment of all animals under Section 42, Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, of the Animals and Birds Act.

It is time to take strong deterrent action when animals are made to suffer.

Deirdre Moss (Ms)
Executive Officer
Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals