Saturday, February 14, 2009

Ideas or just more prejudice?

I'm surprised at the misconceptions in this article. First of all, please explain to me how 'stray animals are a health hazard'. Seriously, what disease are animals known to spread that they constitute a 'health hazard'? Anyone? I'm sick and tired of hearing this statement made, without anything to back it up.

Secondly, there's this nonsense about community animals rummaging in the rubbish bins, unlike birds. First of all, I don't know where Mr Lee is watching his birds, but I've seen birds rummaging in garbage. In fact, if you have a garbage spill on the side of the road, chances are that its the birds that are going to get to it first. Also, the problem of animals rummaging in garbage is a problem 'in Singapore'? I'm pretty sure animals getting into trash is a problem anywhere in the world. In the US, you have to be careful because you might get bears in the trash. So what's the solution? How about just securing your trash?

Again, why beat up on cat feeders? Should they be stopped if they sterilise, manage and feed responsibly? How on earth are they the same as litter bugs if they clean up after themselves? That's like saying that heroin abusers and people prescribed antibiotics for an illness are all drug abusers and should be locked up.

There is a good reason not to feed monkeys (basically the same reason as the bears). Monkeys are having their environment encroached into, and if you lure them OUT of their environment with food, they're at a disadvantage, especially when people complain about them (ie they get killed). You basically don't want them to get too near people because they're not domesticated. Surprise! Cats have not only been domesticated for the past couple of thousand years, they are already IN the environment. It's not like you walk into a forest and find a cat - they live on our streets, in our void decks and just about everywhere we live. In fact, if you want them OUT of your trash, then feeding them is probably a good way to go about it.

I'm also surprised that Mr Lee would suggest letting pet cats out at all. In fact, Mr Lee is the exact reason why the HDB is probably not allowing people to keep cats if this is what he is suggesting. It's also in direct opposition to what he just said earlier in the article about how easy it is to keep cats indoors.

Pet cats and community cats are NOT the same thing. I find it extremely hard to believe there are estates with NO community cats. If there is a vacuum effect, there will be cats - why? Because of territory, not food. If they are territorial, yes they may be boundary incursions but newcomers will be chased out anyway if the area cannot support more cats.

Let's take Seletar Estate for one. Mr Tan has said that he has trapped more than 300 cats over the years. Say that for some reason the estate must be home to someone who really, really like cats and enjoy bringing them all home. Now knowing that you neighbour has been trapping and killing these cats, who on earth would bring MORE cats in and let them roam around for your neighbour to kill, especially when he is so well known? So where are these cats coming from? How about the fact that they're community cats - and they are bringing removed and killed, then there is a vacuum which is then being filled up again, and so the cycle continues.

I know someone who lives in the estate and she does TNRM there. She didn't even like cats to begin with, but felt sorry for them. She's not the only one who has tried to run programmes there. When they removed the cats FROM the streets so that they would not be trapped and killed, guess what happened? If you guessed that new cats come in, you'd be absolutely right.


Anonymous said...

Mr Lee Chiu San is entitled to his ideas. But why do newspapers always pick people with misconceptions and cause controversies?
Just because Mr Lee had flown in pedigree cats & put them thru training does not make him an expert on community cats affair. Mr Banker with all the $$ does not know anything about Mr Homeless.

Mr Lee's selected few pedigree cats are a hobby. Cat care-givers care for community cats in SG irregardless of looks or behaviour. Their care & compassion are for cats' welfare-definitely not a hobby for one's own pleasure.
Thanks for Mr Lee's view that cats can be successfully kept in flats.

Dawn said...

I agree - he is entirely entitled to his opinions, but not when they are published as if he is an 'expert'.

I am glad to see both he and Mr Tan however think cats should be in flats.

Anonymous said...

Why is Mr Lee offering advice on community cats (eg 'Cat feeders should be stopped') when Mr Lee proudly stated that he keeps/kept pedigree cats for shows & does not live in hdb flat. Why not stick to his pedigree-cats-in-bungalow experience?

Just because he has kept cats for 20yrs (so have i) does that make him an expert? If one consumes food for 62 yrs, does that make one a "shit" expert.

Anonymous said...

Singapore Cat Club is not a group of people interested in the welfare of community cats. Most if not all are interested in showing off their pedigree cats.
Mr Lee's intention to keep his cats indoor is to keep them in Show-Cat condition!
Their so called "kindness" to let HBD keep cats is perhaps hoping that the cats are taken off their middle-class estate!
I wonder if it were a joke when Mr Tan quoted a reason for culling cats is that they chased his "pet rabbit"!

Truly warped "animal lovers"!

Anonymous said...

I love the smell of elitism in the morning. I think a certain poster on stomp summed it up quite well: "I only care about my dog. All stray cats and dogs should be culled."

EJ. said...

Mr Lee doesn't know what hunger is?
It is like don't feed the stray cats. So let them die of hunger?
Hunger leds to weak immune system and sickness. No wonder they became 'health hazards' to Mr Lee.

Anonymous said...

Mr Lee (keeper of pedigree cats) is a peevish dinosaur who live in the past and his 5-pt ideas how to "tackle the issue of the strays" is nothing more of a rant against cat care-givers.

Anonymous said...

It's true. People always use "hygiene" and "disease" as an excuse to kill animals, yet no one ever provides the backup to support such statements. Govt officials say these things all the time and people swallow it up without questioning. Some of these officials don't even have the relevant credentials nor are they sufficiently informed about such things. In college we are taught to be discerning about where we get our information from, and to cite reliable sources. Like, would you accept as truth an opinion on stray cats from someone who has a degree in dentistry? Come on...

Dawn said...

Not unless the dentist has evidence :) In this case, just because Mr Lee used to be with the Cat Club doesn't make him an expert.

Anonymous said...

I am a member of Singapore Cat Club. Many of the members rescue and foster many commumity cats.

Whoever is Mr Lee, he does not represent any member in Singapore Cat Club.

We appreciate cats in any status whether it is pedigree or stray. Each has its own unique personality which we share with the people we come in contact.

In Singapore Cat Show, Household pets have the highest entries and we are proud that they hold high in the status.

In my conversation with the people I meet during the show, I have the opportunity to share information on community cats. It is important that I encourage potential adopters on pet ownership.

And I have both pedigree and community cats.


Dawn said...

Hi katie, I certainly don't think that the majority of people in the Singapore Cat Club support Mr Lee's stance. quite a few people have had cats shown in the household cat category as you said. It's good to hear from people like you who are SCC members and make their stance clear!