Thursday, June 10, 2010

AVA to take stern action against animal cruelty

The Straits Times
ST Forum
Jun 10, 2010
AVA to take stern action against animal cruelty

I REFER to the letter by Ms Deirdre Moss of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals ('Time to take deterrent action against cruel dog breeders'; May 24).

We agree with her that animal cruelty should not be tolerated. To this end, the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) does not hesitate to take stern action against anyone found guilty of animal cruelty, which carries a maximum penalty upon conviction of a $10,000 fine and 12 months' imprisonment.

Even in less severe cases where reasonable care and supervision were not provided, the AVA has compounded two dog breeders in the past for the maximum composition sum of $1,000 under the Animals and Birds Act.

Since January, to further enhance standards and competencies of pet shops and dog farms, employees in this industry must undergo a compulsory structured training course in pet animal management and welfare. The AVA will monitor the improvements in the pet industry.

Dog farms must also meet our licensing conditions of having adequate health-care and disease prevention programmes approved by the AVA. These farms employ the services of private veterinarians.

In addition, the AVA conducts regular surveillance and monitoring of pet shops and dog farms. We also carry out surprise inspection visits to dog farms to ensure that animal welfare standards are adhered to. Regulatory action is taken where there is evidence of a breach of conditions. We are also continuously reviewing and improving our regulations.

In addition, we believe in working closely with the industry to continually uplift standards of animal welfare through partnership and education, which is a long-term solution.

At the same time, the public continue to play an important role in encouraging pet shops and dog farms to raise their standards by patronising only the responsible ones. The public should also quickly bring to the attention of the AVA any errant dog farm or pet shop they come across. We thank Ms Moss for her feedback and welcome the SPCA to provide the AVA information on pet shops or farms that are not meeting welfare standards.

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