Sunday, 26 June 2011

Coming together for Animals and Our Community

"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated."
~ Mahatma Gandhi.

The theme for the previous Asia for Animals Conference was "Effecting Long-Term Positive Change", which speaks of our resolve to implement changes and produce results which will improve the quality of life of all living things. We have seen much progress and positive changes in the last 18 months since the Asia for Animals Conference in Singapore in 2010.

The theme for the Asia for Animals Conference 2011 in Chengdu, Sichuan, China is "Out of the Box – bringing animal cruelty to an end", with the objective of spreading ideas, highlighting achievements and exploring solutions on how the exploitation of animals can be reduced and ended.

It was another inspiring, moving and productive Conference for me. I acquired new friends and knowledge and felt more empowered to bring positive change to the natural environment, my community and the animal world by making improvements to help the animal world.

There was an air of optimism, shared moral courage and triumph at this Conference that I didn't feel at the previous two Conferences. I am confident that change is stirring in all of us. In the years to come, we will see greater improvement in animal welfare and protection laws and changes in society's mindset. Animal welfare will very soon be part of mainstream thought and beliefs. In the 1960s, the hippies were ridiculed when they talked about recycling, pollution, the ozone layer and Silent Spring. Nowadays, no one questions the wisdom of environmental responsibility and the sustainable use of resources. I believe the day will come, very soon, when we can see an end to inhumane practices such as the use of performing animals in zoos and circuses, consumption of dog and cat meat, animal testing and big game hunting. I am optimistic that ideas such as humane farming methods, vivisection-free medical testing and humane and sustainable zoos and animal sanctuaries will one day be part of mainstream thought.

The Conference once again brought together animal welfare professionals and volunteers and celebrated activism and volunteerism.

The main purposes of animal shelters are:
- Reunification (of missing companion animals and human caregivers)
- Adoption
- Rescue and treatment
- Sterilisation
- and Humane Education

Is there a necessity for animal shelters in future if all these roles can be assumed by rescue groups? Project Second Chance can provide all the above service on a small scale with higher standards of care.

Engaging everyone:
- Tell people about your work and the results that you have.
- Tell your partners so they value you.
- Tell your sponsors so they continue to support you.
- Tell your employees and volunteers so they can be proud to be part of your team.

Pre-Conference Workshop 1:
Designing our own animal shelter. I have Dr Heather Bacon on my team so nobody had better say anything about our shelter design!
Oh and no prizes for guessing who added the waste composting facility, rainwater harvesting tank, solar parameter lighting and waste separating area. Hahaha.

Jill Robinson with our very youthful and immensely popular animal welfare ambassador, Karen Mok, during the opening ceremony. Karen, you rock!

Opening Ceremony: Celebrating 20 Years of the Dr. Dog Animal Assisted Therapy Programme.

Andrew Rowan of Humane Society International gets down on his knees to play with Dr. Yao Yao too. There goes the previously orderly, dignified delegation! Everyone went crazy when the dogs arrived.

Dr. Yao Yao to the rescue! Whether it's high blood pressure, anxiety, depression or high cholesterol levels, Dr. Yao Yao can help you get better!

Bear enrichment toys at the Animals Asia Foundation exhibition booth.

Sathya checks the breathing of Critical Care Jerry, a veterinary education tool, at the InterNiche Booth. What's the prognosis, doc?

Alternatives to animal testing in education:
- Film and video
- Models, mannekins and stimulators
- Multimedia computer simulation
- Ethically sourced animal cadavers and tissues
- Clinical work with patients
- Student self-experimentation
- In vitro labs
- Field studies

Nick Jukes of InterNICHE with an injection pad, where medical/veterinary students can practice subcutaneous and intramuscular injections.

Winds of Change in China: Youths in China campaigning against the public listing of a pharmaceutical company which produces bear bile products.

With Wai Pak of the Borneo Sun Bear Conservation Centre and friends from the Singapore Cat Welfare Society.

With Nick Jukes of InterNiche during the Gala Dinner. We discussed alternatives to vivisection in research and education, and I shared how I broke into the school lab at age 13 to release the frogs and toads destined for the dissection table. (I can confess to it now because limitation has set in -- it happened around 20 years ago). Besides, we know enough about the effects of smoking on our lungs without having to subject toads and frogs to forcible cigarette inhalation just to cut them open and see their lungs (which was the purpose of the exercise).

The Cat Welfare Society of Singapore receives the Andrews Award for Outstanding Contribution By A Community-Based Programme or Campaign.

Monday, 6 June 2011

A Quick Pictorial Update

I leave for the Asia for Animals Conference in China the day after tomorrow. I will be reunited with my Special Someone then. A quick pictorial update of my week is all I can manage at the moment.

Hopscotch, the Little Kitten That Could.
Hopscotch came with so many health issues -- fleas, worms, digestive problems -- that he almost didn't make it.
He has since been vaccinated, dewormed (3x), given flea baths (2x) and treated for tummy trouble.
Raise your hand if you or someone you know would like to adopt this handsome, active, affectionate and trusting kitty!
Hopscotch is about 3 months old, and I will attend to his neutering when he is 6 months old. Please help me spread the word!

4th June 2011
At the SPCA Booth at the Malaysian International Pet Expo.
Any takers for this cute puppy? He is up for adoption at the SPCA!

4th June 2011
At the SPCA Booth at the Malaysian International Pet Expo.
Kelvin giving Nicole's foster kitten, Baby, some TLC.

My buddy Nicole (right) is interviewed on animal cruelty issues and the animal protection petition on an 8TV Mandarin news programme, "Eyes on You".

4th June 2011
MNS Selangor Open Day / World Environment Day Celebrations at the Lembah Kiara Recreational Park.

4th June 2011
MNS Selangor Open Day / World Environment Day Celebrations at the Lembah Kiara Recreational Park.
Li-Li and Li-Kim's mum (in yellow tee) was a great help to us at the games booth.

4th June 2011
MNS Selangor Open Day / World Environment Day Celebrations at the Lembah Kiara Recreational Park.
Keats' storytelling session gets interactive. The kids get in the act, too.

4th June 2011
MNS Selangor Open Day / World Environment Day Celebrations at the Lembah Kiara Recreational Park.
I managed to persuade Keats to do the Single Rope Technique and she climbed all the way to the top (the tree branch was the height of a two-storey house)
Here she is, all smiles while abseiling down!

Our MNS Nature Guides -- Wonderful, dedicated and passionate, as always!
(Photo credit: Gary Phong)

See you all in two weeks!