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MPs Louis Ng, Raeesah Khan to push for greater discussion in Parliament on animal welfare

SINGAPORE — Two Members of Parliament from opposite sides of the aisle said on Sunday (Oct 11) that they will push for greater discussion in the House on the protection of animals and pets in Singapore in the months to come.

Stray cats outside an HDB unit in Yishun, where Mr Louis Ng is an MP. Mr Ng said he intends to continue pushing for the legalisation of cats in HDB flats.

Stray cats outside an HDB unit in Yishun, where Mr Louis Ng is an MP. Mr Ng said he intends to continue pushing for the legalisation of cats in HDB flats.

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  • Ms Raeesah wants more stringent laws against unethical animal breeding
  • Mr Ng hopes to continue pushing for the legalisation of cats in HDB flats
  • Both MPs urged potential pet owners to consider adoption insteading of shopping

 

SINGAPORE — Two Members of Parliament from opposite sides of the aisle said on Sunday (Oct 11) that they will push for greater discussion in the House on the protection of animals and pets in Singapore in the months to come.

Ms Raeesah Khan, a Workers’ Party MP for Sengkang Group Representation Constituency (GRC), said she would like to see more stringent laws, such as harsher penalties, that will discourage the unethical “backyard” breeding of animals.

Meanwhile, Mr Louis Ng, an MP for Nee Soon GRC, said he intends to speak up on a slew of different animal-related topics, including a continued push to lift the ban on cat ownership in Housing and Development Board (HDB) flats.

Both Ms Raeesah and Mr Ng were speaking at a Facebook Live session called Project Adopt Live, which delves into topics such as responsible animal care and virtual adoption drives. It was organised by Hope For Animals, a non-profit voluntary animal advocacy group.

Responding to a question raised by Project Adopt Live host Jo Tan on Sunday about what issues concerning pets or animals in Singapore will be discussed in Parliament, Mr Ng said he hopes to look into the possibility of making it illegal to either declaw a cat or debark a dog — that is removing the dog’s vocal cords.

“As a Government, we urge people not to do it, but we haven’t made it illegal yet,” said Mr Ng, who is also the founder of wildlife rescue group Animal Concerns Research and Education Society.

Other issues Mr Ng hopes to raise include examining whether there is a need to increase the penalties imposed under the animal cruelty law, and a framework for environmental impact assessments.

Mr Ng also intends to continue pushing for the legalisation of cats in HDB flats. He has raised this issue multiple times in Parliament, and even questioned the point of having a ban on felines if it is not actively enforced.

Only after this is done can Singapore start looking into regulating the ownership of cats, such as enforced sterilisation, which would in turn help reduce the number of unwanted litters, said Mr Ng on Sunday.

From left: Project Adopt Live co-hosts Edward Choy and Jo Tan, Ms Raeesah Khan and Mr Louis Ng. Photo: Hope For Animals

National Development Minister Desmond Lee had said in Parliament on Oct 6 that HDB’s pet ownership policies seek to strike a balance between residents who are pet lovers and those who are not. He added that his ministry would review and update its pet ownership policies.

Ms Raeesah said on Sunday that she also hopes to speak to people who buy pets to understand their motivations, and see how the narrative can be changed into one of adoption instead of purchase.

She said there is a lot of misconception about local breeds of animals, such as them not being as affectionate as their pedigree counterparts.

Referencing the local street cats she adopted, which included an elderly feline that has since passed, she said this is not true.

“They are really affectionate,” Ms Raeesah said. “During my pregnancy, they were all around me, sitting on my tummy, purring. So I don’t see that justification.”

As for disabled pets, Mr Ng said potential adopters should not be discouraged.

Citing his experience as the owner of a rescued pomeranian with deformed hind legs, he said it has little issue interacting with other animals and humans.

“She goes and plays with other dogs, and she runs around. Disability often is a perception,” said Mr Ng.

Project Adopt Live was launched during the Covid-19 circuit breaker in April to help animal shelters.

During this period, Ms Tan said physical adoption drives and charity fundraisers had to be cancelled, which affected a lot of animal welfare groups with shelters as their premises were filled with needy animals, but their coffers were empty.

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animal welfare cats HDB Louis Ng Raeesah Khan

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