"Will the cats in my neighbourhood be safe? That's what I needed to know." wrote Ann Summer in her post describing her 30 minute meeting with the Member of Parliament of her town council (Nee Soon South) about the supposed plans to remove cats from the neighourhood.
The town council had earlier conducted a survey on whether residents agree or not to the removal of stray cats in the neighborhood.
In Ann Summer's post on 18 December, she shared the survey which the town council have crafted and distributed among the flats and subsequently went viral on the social media platforms due to the outrage over the antics by the town council on the stray cat issue.
In the post below, Ann Summer shares the information she have garner on the "cat removal" exercise from the meeting she had with her MP.
Meeting: 2 January 2015, Friday, 6.30pm
Things I learnt from the brief 30-minute meeting:
1. When Town Council says "removal" of cats on a survey form and when representatives explain that "removal" means "rehoming" and "relocation", they really mean "culling".
When I called the Town Council to ask about the removal form, the representative stressed that they would not cull the cats. That they would deal with the issue humanely should the survey result be in favour of removing the community cats. When meeting with MP Lee, I asked, "Where would these cats have been removed to if the majority of survey forms returned said, "Yes, remove cats."?"
She shared that they would then have to "call the AVA". The last I checked, AVA doesn't have a re-home and re-location programme. Only culling. So, go figure.
tl;dr: Removal of cats = Culling of cats. Same same but packaged in a more
deceptive presentable manner.
2. Relevant authorities are aware that culling doesn't actually solve anything. They know that a new batch of animals will eventually replace the old. But they need quick fixes, and removing (aka culling) the animals is the fastest way to make the complaints stop (for a long while, if they're lucky). Repeat: Culling doesn't solve the actual problem. They don't care.
To give her due credit, MP Lee did share that she would prefer to not have to call the AVA. Which is why she has been engaging relevant AWGs to deal with residents' complaints. Basically, if someone in the neighbourhood complains about cats, CWS will be notified. If someone complains about dogs, Agency for Animal Welfare Ltd. (AAW) will be notified. She also mentioned people complain about birds and sometimes monkeys, but that those aren't causing that much of a stir for now. Yes, apparently many complain about community animals. Singapore, where human life is the only acceptable form of life and where animals only have a place in homes or zoos.
tl;dr: Pro: Nee Soon South Town Council and its MP do try to handle animal-human conflict issues as humanely as possible; Con: They
shoot arrows forward complaints to the relevant organisations and bochup until the next complaint leave them to handle it.
3. MP Lee is a self-proclaimed animal lover. Her Town Council believes in humane community animal management. Unless, of course, residents have repeat complaints about animals. Residents' welfare comes first.
It's heartening to know that the MP for my area cares about residents so much. "Every feedback is taken seriously." Examples of complaints about community cats include: "The cat sleeps on my car", "The cat scares me when I come home at night" and "The containers used to feed cats collect water and attract mosquitoes". In all cases, it's always the cats' fault. Hence, "removal" (aka culling).
tl;dr: Don't worry about whether your complaint will be taken seriously. Don't even worry if your complaint is sound or logical. Not happy, just complain. If you complain repeatedly, you may just get your own community survey wish fulfilled.
MP Lee hinted that my neighbourhood gave an overall "No, don't remove the cats" answer; the cats in my neighbourhood are safe.
The same can't be said for cats in other neighbourhoods, especially neighbourhoods who still believe in issuing cat culling, oh sorry "removal", surveys. The cats in Jalan Lengkok (another neighbourhood under MP Lee) aren't as lucky. The same survey was issued, the AWGs weren't informed, and no resident spoke up for the cats. AVA has been notified after the cat culling survey came back in favour of "removing" the cats. Join the fight to save Jalan Lengkok cats from culling: http://bit.ly/13MtF5e
I'm glad that most of the residents in my area have hearts and care. And don't believe in pushing the blame onto the voiceless scapegoat. My community cats are safe. For now. Until the next resident repeatedly complains about them. Until the AWG involved runs into a wall and isn't able to mediate the issue. Until the next cat "removal" survey.
Another takeaway from this issue: always speak up. Especially on the internet. Make a lot of noise on social media and speak up for what you believe in. Because if you don't, no one will (case in point: Jalan Lengkok cat culling survey).
tl;dr: Want to live in a neighbourhood that shows more compassion for animals and more tolerance for differences? Move to Chong Pang.