If I had to guess, I would say it's about what "image" local agencies want to project. Having expensive pedigree dogs looks more "professional" than using local dogs, even though the local dogs would be just as effective.
I think at least some of it has to do with the fact that people believe that some breeds are better 'suited' to search and rescue than others. Some breeds may have been better known for their sense of smell than others, for example.On the other hand, people still have a misconception about dogs in shelters. Someone I know here in the US just bought a dog not too long ago. Someone else said she'd never consider adoption because she felt you never knew the temperament of a shelter dog. Never mind that you never can tell the temperament of a 'bred' dog either. I guess that sentiment is common all over.
Well, actually, about that, I'm guilty of it too.It's from experience though. I'd have a hard time adopting a cat from a shelter unless it was still 4 months old or younger. The two older cats I've had that I adopted or picked up off the street had the weirdest quirks and uncommon behaviors compared to my two house raised cats. They weren't playful at all.Not that I didn't care about them, but they were just harder to love. Some people may not want to deal with that and may go with an animal that they can raise themselves.Of course, you're right that some bred dogs can be mean too, regardless of how they're raised. I had a Dalmation years ago that I raised. One day the dog went nuts and tried to attack me and my wife. I had to have her put down. I hear Dalmations are known for that though.As far as bred dogs go for search and rescue, people should know by now that just because they've heard something doesn't make it true. It's always best to check facts.
I actually think it's really the personality of the animal. I have a kitten we picked up (who was very affectionate then) when she was still nursing - and she grew up to be the most unfriendly cat. Then there are the adult cats who are extremely loving. Cats (like people) 'grow' into their personalities. Kittens don't really have a personality, like babies :)As for dogs, sorry to hear about your dog. I do know of friends with really docile Dalmatians. We have a dog who bites us occasionally, but we suspect he was abused before he came to us.I suppose some dogs, for example German Shepherd or Labradors are known for their sense of smell because they are bred for it. That may be one reason they are chosen - but it doesn't mean that a non-pedigree dog can't be screened. Surely there are those with excellent sense of smells too.I think that with anything else, people are reluctant to change. If it ain't broke, why fix it. That's why most search and rescue departments still use the traditional 'breeds'.
Hm. I just remembered the traditional image of the red fire truck and the dalmation that's common in the US.Other than that, I suppose you're right, but I hope our youngest cat, who is about 7 or 8 months stays the same. She's a sweet, goofy little thing.
Yes - firemen and Damatians.I hope she does too. She very well may :)
This story brings back some sad memories. I grew up at a time when stray dogs were rounded up in a big way. I often saw these dark blue vehicles that looked like large cages, packed with barking dogs. My older relatives (parents, grandmother, etc) would tell me that the dogs were going to be trained as police dogs. Of course, I found out the truth much later. Just a bit of history of violence that's buried under our national narrative of continuous progress.
yskat - what a sad story, and I wonder how many other people thought the same too. I can imagine people might have let the 'kampung' dogs be taken away to be used for such important work.
That's a pretty shitty thing to do. I'm actually in Thailand right now, at Patong Beach. There are what I guess you could call community dogs everywhere. They're very docile. They just wander around looking for handouts and the locals all seem to stop to play with them a bit. They don't seem to cause any problems, and more than anything, they add flavor to the scenery.
its the cultural difference. thais are mostly buddhist and they believe that killing animals brings bad karma. here we are a secular society. cleanliness and efficiency is what counts. govt considers stray animals unsightly and sweeps them away like trash
I think I read from the papers that a dog from ASD is being trained for rescue work in the US. Other countries also have therapy cats, which proved to be effective in helping patients to the road of recovery, why shouldnt our Singapura do so too? Beisdes, local cats cost around to S$400 and more overseas too!
Brad - the Soi Cat and Dog foundation does good work in Thailand from what I know!Anonymous - I also wonder whether part of it at least is our rapid transition to the third world. We swept out a lot when we 'moved up' in the world.Wei Ling - the problem is also in the mindset. People have to stop wanting to buy 'pedigree' cats. For some people, the $400 (or whatever it is) price tag is a sign of status.
Thailand's Korat cat is silver-grey with the most gorgeous green eyes. Originally the cat is meant as a gift, not sold. I saw a Korat in a temple in a Thai province decades ago-imagine a feline beauty without a price tag? Of course all cats are beautiful.Thais do have much compassion for animals esp with the Thai king setting a good example with dogs. Wish such a culture cld be made possible in SG.
Tongdaeng is a dog from the streets."The Story of Tongdaeng which was originally penned by revered King Bhumibol Adulyadej in 2002. Widely interpreted not just as a feel-good tale but as a lesson to Thais on how they should behave..."It is now in a cartoon version as well as a book.http://www.dailynews.lk/2004/12/03/fea11.html
Lovely - I love that story!
Well, one could argue that the United States is a secular society too, but not only does the government not "cull" animals, there are strict laws that can lead to jail time when there's abuse or killing of animals.I suppose it might be seen as a sign of status to buy a pedigree cat, but on the other hand, a person might just want a cat (or dog) that looks a certain way. Like, I'm sure that most people that go for Pomeranians, or Poodles, or Dalmations, or Siamese or Persians do it because they're attracted to the particular look of the animal. It might not only have to do with status.
Brad - there are similar laws in Singapore too. Unfortunately in the US most feral cats that are sent to shelters are killed. In fact, in different states and jurisdictions, depending on what animal control does, many do also pick up 'nuisance' cats and have them killed. Or they'll loan traps out for the same reason. fortunately, some jurisdictions are learning that TNR is the better way to go about it.
Trap-Neuter-Return programmes - where feral cats are sterilised and returned back where they came from.
Oh. I like that!
Yes - it's the most humane, effective, long term solution and it's practiced all over the world from the US to Singapore!
This is a bit late, and isn't meant to detract from the good work of people and organisations like the Soi Cat and Dog foundation. But just to put into perspective the Thais' reputation for compassion:Thailand Breaks International Conservation TreatyThailand is wildlife smuggling haven. Orang utans are not native to Thailand, and are critically endangered, and yet there are more than a handful of them held captive in Thailand "zoos", being forced to perform for the amusement of tourists.In particular:"at Sriracha Tiger Zoo there was a female chimp that was forced to work in the “circus show” performing silly tricks. Her teeth had been knocked out, the gums had healed over the roots, and infection was now spreading up into her face and skull leaving her very deformed. Without specialist treatment it is likely that Naree will die a slow and horrible death. Monkey World has asked the Thai authorities to release Naree into our care, especially as she is already documented as illegal, but they will not. We have received a great deal of support from many people and adoptive parents who have written letters to the Thai Embassy in London and we have also had campaigns to save Naree launched at 2CR radio and the Daily Echo." (source)Naree was a young chimp, and she was discovered in 2003. I followed her case very closely then as I felt very much for her. But dDespite all efforts to rescue her, Thailand refused to release her, nor to do the right thing for her and the thousands of suffering chimps, orangutans and even elephants, so highly revered in Thailand.There was some deception about Naree's whereabouts then and even now her status is still unknown. Given her condition even then, she is probably dead now.
That's terrible Calsifer - and thanks for sharing that story. I guess we don't do very well in terms of wildlife smuggling either considering how many animals pass through Singapore. It's thanks to ACRES that more attention is being focused on the issue.
@Calsifer: Well, that kinda sucks. In that particular case they should've treated the chimp to start with, rather than let it get that bad. And, when international pressure brought it to the authorities attention, they should have made sure the chimp was treated, and fined the owner for mistreatment.Perhaps they rely on those animals to make a living off of tourism, but that doesn't mean they should be mistreated, any more than a mechanic should mistreat his tools, or a soldier should mistreat his weapon. It doesn't make sense.I guess you can never just group people altogether like that. There are always bad eggs.@Dawn: Funny that animals can be smuggled through when sometimes you can't even get a pencil sharpener through the airport security.
I think often Singapore is a transit point - and smugglers are certainly very smart about it. ACRES exhibition model of how they smuggle animals in a suitcase (in socks, canisters, etc) is an eyeopener.
That is kind of an eye opener, but I bet they're not as creative as some Mexicans get when trying to illegally cross the border.You know, I've often jokingly told my wife that when it comes time for us to move back to the US, rather than pay the fees to import our cats, I'll just dope them both up and tape them to my body and say I'm fat. Ha ha ha!
You joke about it but someone once wrote to us to ask to adopt another cat. Apparently she had strapped one to her chest and smuggled it out of the country according to her. she sent photos of the cat (but not the chest strapping) so I have no idea how true this was.
Hmmm. So it's possible then... I wonder how she kept it from meowing, or peeing on her...
I wouldn't recommend it - I have no idea how serious she was.
Oh don't worry. I'm only kidding! I wouldn't subject my kitties to that sort of torture. Imagine the smell once I started sweating from anxiety and fear in the airport! No way!
Dawn, Brad,I was one of the frantic people who responded to Monkey World's call to write to Thai authorities and spread the word about Naree and the captive animal performers in hellholes like Sriracha Tiger Zoo. But despite the international outcry and even the intervention of Tony Blair, then British PM (Monkey World is based in the UK), Naree was not saved, and nothing was done to improve conditions nor to prevent more animals from being so abused. I believe there was information to suggest part of it was due to Thaksin being Thailand's premier then - follow the money trail and so on.btw, the phrase "Thailand Breaks International Conservation Treaty" in my first comment should have been a link to the contents here.There are always good and bad people and things, whatever the place. But it always seem the bad has the upper hand.Dawn, you're right of course in saying Singapore is a transit point. There was a recent news article about smuggling cases in Singapore: overall cases are down but shockingly, wildlife smuggling is up 200%! But considering the lucrative nature of it, being only less profitable than drugs and arms, its no wonder.Traffic.org is a great site for info on wildlife smuggling. Ironically, I just checked it, and using "Thailand" as the search term, the first article on the search results page was headlined "Thailand an elephant transit point".But back to performing animals or animals used in tourism, there are tons of elephant begging on the streets of Thailand and pictures-with-a-cute-primate-baby touts are common. All these are exploitation and entails not only cruelty; often it also causes environmental destruction due to wildlife capture. I just wish people who bring tourist dollars into the local economy are more discerning and refuse to pay for these things. After all money talks.The Captive Animals' Protection Society (CAPS) is a great place to start researching on performing animals.For the discerning and caring traveller, great resources for not being party to animal exploitation in the tourism trade here, here and here.
Brad - good to hear :)
Calsifer - that's really terrible and always sad when animals take second place to monetary aims, but hardly surprising.thanks for the links - they look really informative!
Calsifer - very timely too. was just considering going whale watching and wondering if it would in any way put the animals at harm. The article was really useful!
Glad you found them useful, Dawn. Not sure about where you live, but in Nth CA, one of the best whale watching outfit is this (I did my research by lurking around forums).Run by biologists who are doing whale research, it's ethical - no harrassment of the whales or marine sea creatures that happen across the boat's path. The trip I was on in 2001 saw a few blues, 30+ humpbacks, hundreds of pacific whitesided dolphins, sea birds, sea lions - including a playful younster who amused itself by going through the "hoops" in the wake of the whales' diving. It was great, and definitely awe-inspiring.You are right of course about harrassment potential. Remember Migaloo, the white humpback who frequents Australia? I remember a news clip where tours were tailing him so close that he got stressed out to the point of wanting to ram the boats! Not sure if he did succeed. But it resulted in an annual special ruling that defines the exclusion zone around him as 500ft, 400 more than for other whales. It was also thanks to Migaloo that Australians woke up to the Japanese threat to include humpbacks in their annual Southern Ocean Sanctuary slaughter 2 years ago.But I digress. For whale-watching, you might find this site helpful: http://whalewatching.com/. Have a good trip! =)
I was visiting Monterey - and that was the tour I went on, friday afternoon :) We got to see some whales AND they collected whale poop to help some researchers who are trying to see what the whales are eating. Very interesting.
Coolness! Monterey is a fascinating place. And the wildlife there! During the whale-watching trip. I almost jumped into the sea trying to get shots of a sunfish that was tailing our boat for a while. Another colleague who went to CA for a work assignment after me (that was my ticket there ;P ) got this cool shot of a rare condor nesting in a cliff that was hulking over the ocean.Monterey was a whaling town, and even it can shrug it off. I just hope Taiji can too. The news that just came out of there is depressing.Dawn, if you go back to Nth CA in the winter, try Pigeon Point Lighthouse, on the coast about 0.5 hour south of San Francisco. Apparently, you can see whales passing through just standing on the cliffs. In the vicinity is also state park Ano Nuevo - the only mainland elephant seal breeding colony in the States. I think you'd have to get a permit to go see them during the winter though. I was there in the wrong season, and managed only to see a few lethargic slackers sloughing off the annual molt. Still impressive.... I miss that place.
I did go by Pigeon Point - but I guess it's the wrong season for it. It's beautiful out there!
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