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Asia for Animals Conference, Singapore

15th July 2005(This note on the ASIA FOR ANIMALS conference was prepared by Azam Siddiqui of People for Animals, Assam.)

The biennial Animal Welfare conference “Asia for Animals” was held at Novotel Clarke Quay, Singapore, from 22 to 24 June, 2005. The Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (ACRES), a Singaporean- based charitable organization, hosted the event bringing together more than 200 delegates with animal advocacy and conservation concerns and expertise. Over 27 delegates from India attended the Conference.

COLLABORATION WITH A DIFFERENCE

The emphasis of Asia for Animals 2005 was to consolidate experiences in the region with the aim of developing new strategies and facilitate change. In the main sessions governmental and non-governmental representatives and experts debated the following topics:

• Disaster Relief & Recovery
• ZooCheck Work in Asia
• Stray Animal Management
• Rescue Centre Operations
• Farm Animal Welfare
• The Role of Government Agencies in Animal Protection
• Tackling the Wildlife Trade
• Media & Communication Strategies for NGOs

HANDS-ON WORKSHOP SERIES

A series of expert-facilitated workshops were incorporated into the program. The objective of these workshops was to discuss methods, strategies and solutions for animal advocacy and conservation workers in Asia.

Most of the attendees were actively involved in animal welfare and conservation work. The experiences they shared were truly frightening. Violations of existing animals laws and the sadistic pleasure of humans viewing voiceless creatures in excruciating pain, were highlighted by individuals who have not only saved animals but who have fought to transform the views of society in their countries.

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE WORKSHOPS AND PRESENTATIONS

Kartick Satyanarayanan, of Wildlife SOS ®, India, was praised for his success story with the Bear Rescue Facility in Agra. Kartick has conducted undercover operations in India teaming up with Geeta Seshamani, the founder of Wildlife SOS ®. In the last two years, their team has confiscated over twenty-four bear cubs and arrested several poachers and traders.

Jill Robinson MBE, the founder and  CEO of Animals Asia Foundation, explained how she  started “Dr. Dog”, the first animal therapy program in Asia. Today over 300 dogs visits people in need in six countries across Asia, promoting animals as our friends and aides. Ms. Robinson also discussed the improved treatment of bears in China following an intense lobbying campaign. However there are still 7,000 bears in China that are being farmed for their bile and gall bladders for traditional Chinese medicine.

Sherry Grant, of The Humane Society International. focused on the Tsunami Relief and Recovery Efforts in Banda Ache, Indonesia.

Merrit Clifton and Kim Barlett, from Animal People USA, told us how they helped find a way of successfully raising funds for a cause, both traditionally and creatively.

Shubhobroto Ghosh from Kolkata presented his report on conditions in Indian zoos.

There were many presentations  from China on fur-farming and the control of wildlife trade, while delegates from Indonesia highlighted the state of the illegal primate trade.

RESOLUTIONS ADOPTED

§     Asian governments to strengthen cooperation and enforcement efforts to combat the illegal trade in wildlife.
§     Animals being transported for slaughter or further fattening will not be transported for more than a total of 8 hours from the point of loading to the point of offloading.
§       Ban on export of elephants from Thailand.
§  Dog-eating should be rejected and stopped by progressive Governments. The Government of South Korea should not go against the global tide of civilization, and move away from the practice of eating dogs.
§    Supports a methodical, systematic and scientific Animal Birth Control (ABC) program coupled with mass immunization of the dog population as the most efficacious means of humanely controlling the stray dog population and rabies.
§    Calls on the Australian Government to immediately halt live sheep export trade.
§    Calls on the state governments of Australia to halt the use of 1080 poison as a means of killing wildlife due to the fact that it is inhumane and kills many non-target species.
§    Supports the SPCA (Singapore) and Cat Welfare Society (Singapore) who are asking for a more effective and humane solution to reduce the population of stray cats and appeals to the authorities to reinstate the Stray Cat Rehabilitation Scheme.
§    Supports the SPCA (Singapore) and Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (ACRES) call for the ban on the use of wild animals in circuses to be extended to captive facilities in Singapore where circus-like shows are performed. This includes Singapore Zoo and Dolphin Lagoon.
§    A committed team to be formed along with NGOs and concerned government departments with India, Nepal, Tibet, China, Malaysia, Japan and Singapore with necessary powers to seize and punish those trading in wild animals.
§    To form an Ad Hoc committee for organizing future Asia for Animals conferences.

CONCLUSION

At the conclusion of the conference, many delegates rushed to join the Asian Animal Protection Network or AAPN, launched by Dr. John Wedderburn. This is an alliance of people from across the world networking to share news about animals and the environment.

We are grateful to Louis Ng, the President of ACRES, for inviting us to attend the Conference. He and his young team were praised by all the delegates who were able to share and learn from their combined experiences. Hopefully the alliance that we built in Singapore will bring about a more humane society in Asia, and the rest of the world.


 

 

 

 

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