Thursday, 28 May 2015

[Today] Backyard breeding more than just a pet peeve

In the light of the report about an investigation by the Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (“Many top-graded pet shops ‘fail in animal welfare’”, May 21), I wish to highlight that there are many backyard breeders in Singapore.
I want to focus particularly on the issue of illegal cat breeding. A quick search online would show a slew of pages with animals put up for sale and with promises that the cats are registered with world-recognised cat associations.
However, what these breeders do not have are licences issued to the relevantpet businesses under the Animals and Birds Act, legislation that duly penalises businesses and their employees for errant practices and neglect of animal welfare.
There are also many non-internationally-approved breeders, whose inappropriate breeding practices often lead to genetic health issues for cats.
A look at numerous websites would show that none of them have a business registration address, which means they are effectively not registered with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority.
Hence, they would not be subject to taxes and other matters such as manpower and hygiene.
With prices of cats ranging anywhere from S$100 to S$10,000 in the market, I am amazed that individuals are not only profiteering, but are also not required to be accountable for their actions while subjecting buyers to strict, confidential terms.
This would surely not be approved for most legal businesses here. A particular breeder even uses the word “adoption” instead of “sale” in a blatant case of false advertising.
Backyard breeding is also feeding the continued abandonment of cats, which increases the stray population, something the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) is trying to halt through various programmes.
While the AVA has done a commendable job working with organisations such as the Cat Welfare Society on efforts like the Trap-Neuter-Return-Manage campaign, it must stop the problem at the source: Pet shops and, more importantly, illegal backyard breeders.