Is ACRES asserting its independence from the Government?

By Gunther Wong

In news reports today, the Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (more commonly known as ACRES) released findings from a two month long undercover investigation by ACRES’ officers.

Of the 11 pet shops that breached the Agri-food & Veterinary Authority’s (AVA) pet shop licensing conditions, 7 were in fact, graded ‘A’ under AVA’s Pet Shop Grading Scheme. For the mathematically impaired, that works out to be about 64%.

An ACRES’ spokesperson called for a review of AVA’s grading system and its implementation. The call was a surprise as ACRES’ appeared to have close ties with the Government.

In March, ACRES announced that it had set up an animal crime investigation unit that would work closely with the AVA on detecting and investigating animal abuse cases.

In October last year, ACRES founder Louis Ng announced that he was joining the ruling People’s Action Party after receiving an invitation from then-Minister for Manpower Tan Chuan-Jin. Ng had been actively volunteering with the PAP since 2008 and had been working closely with Law and Foreign Affairs Minister K Shanmugam.

Concerns that ACRES would find itself muzzled seem to be unfounded, although it remains to be seen if ACRES can distance itself from its card-carrying founder-politician, and get the Government to act on ACRES’ investigation report.