Skip to main content

Advertisement

Advertisement

Parliament remarks on cat feeders not criticism of animal lovers and activists: MP Lee Bee Wah

SINGAPORE — Responding to criticism from animal lovers and activists over her Parliament speech earlier this week, where she had called out “irresponsible cat feeding”, Member of Parliament (MP) Lee Bee Wah rejected the notion that she was speaking up against them.

Member of Parliament Lee Bee Wah in Parliament on Tuesday. In her speech on the National Parks Board (Amendment) Bill, Ms Lee pointed out what she said were problems that some cat feeders were causing in her Nee Soon South ward.

Member of Parliament Lee Bee Wah in Parliament on Tuesday. In her speech on the National Parks Board (Amendment) Bill, Ms Lee pointed out what she said were problems that some cat feeders were causing in her Nee Soon South ward.

Follow us on Instagram and Tiktok, and join our Telegram channel for the latest updates.

SINGAPORE — Responding to criticism from animal lovers and activists over her Parliament speech earlier this week, where she had called out “irresponsible cat feeding”, Member of Parliament (MP) Lee Bee Wah rejected the notion that she was speaking up against them.

They may also have misunderstood what she told the House on Tuesday (Feb 12), said Ms Lee — MP for Nee Soon Group Representation Constituency — in a Facebook post on Thursday.

In her speech on the National Parks Board (Amendment) Bill, Ms Lee pointed out what she said were problems that some cat feeders were causing in her Nee Soon South ward.

Food left out for the stray cats in the community is the root cause of “big, big rats… dancing about, running about” the estate, a sight that many residents have complained to her about, she said.

“When (the cat feeders) walk away, the rats come and eat, the big cockroaches come and eat. I asked NEA (National Environment Agency) to act, but they said they couldn’t as there was an agreement between NEA and CWS (Cat Welfare Society) to leave food there for two hours,” added Ms Lee, whose speech triggered laughter in the House. 

“So, many cat feeders and many ‘two hours’ — how to solve the rats issue?”

She then called for the removal of the two-hour feeding windows in residential areas with rat issues, saying the health of residents was “the most important”.

The next day, the Cat Welfare Society published a strongly worded response on Facebook. Cat feeders and the community cats they care for “do not deserve to be laughed at”. "Neither do they deserve to be threatened by the possibility of the extermination of cats that we share our community with," it added.

Explaining its stance on cat feeding, CWS said it supports “responsible caregiving” where food is cleared within two hours and water bowls are changed daily. Its mediators work with the NEA to find and penalise irresponsible cat feeders who do not do so.

Cat feeders also perform their duties in their own time and out of their own pockets, as they believe cats “should enjoy a safe living environment” and be treated with dignity, added the group.

“CWS will continue working with all the town councils, NEA and AVA (Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority) in ensuring that responsible caregiving is consistently provided to the cats,” it said.

On Thursday, Dr Lee wrote on Facebook that she had not criticised anyone in her speech, except for those behind “irresponsible cat feeding and illegal fishing which harmed otters”.

“On the contrary, I made it clear in my speech that it is right and important to live harmoniously with animals in their natural habitat. We need to protect them and their surrounding biodiversity,” she said.

“In fact, in the same speech, I called upon the authorities to take stronger action against illegal fishing which can cause overfishing and damage to biodiversity.”

In her speech, Ms Lee also raised the issue of snakes appearing in residential areas and causing alarm, pointing to an incident in October last year when a python bit a woman outside her second-storey flat.

She stressed on Thursday that it was important to take a "balanced approach towards animal management” by protecting wildlife while prioritising residents’ safety and a hygienic living environment.

As for cat feeders, Dr Lee reiterated that those who leave cat food unattended for two hours in rat-infested areas create hygiene problems for residents, as it attracts rats and cockroaches.

“I am glad that the Government agreed to look into this issue. Otherwise, we would never be able to solve the persistent problem with rats in HDB (Housing and Development Board) estates. And residents will suffer,” she added.

Read more of the latest in

Advertisement

Popular

Advertisement

Stay in the know. Anytime. Anywhere.

Subscribe to get daily news updates, insights and must reads delivered straight to your inbox.

By clicking subscribe, I agree for my personal data to be used to send me TODAY newsletters, promotional offers and for research and analysis.