AVA team and CWS' mediators at Chinatown, one of the precincts where mediation often comes into play as cat-related disputes are common there. (Photo from AVA facebook page)

AVA formalises Cat Welfare Society’s role as mediator for cat-related issues in Singapore

The Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) has appointed Cat Welfare Society (CWS) as its third-party mediator for cat-related issues, noting that the arrangement will be for a year.

It is said that a review will be carried out after the one year mark to assess the effectiveness and need for such services. The appointment is a formalisation of the existing partnership between AVA and CWS.

AVA is the First Responder for animal-related issues. As such issues are often complex, it adopts a multi-stakeholder and multi-pronged approach to manage them, i.e. it works closely with Town Councils, government agencies and stakeholders like animal welfare groups and academics.

AVA notes that mediation has been one of the most effective mechanisms to bring affected parties together to achieve amicable solutions to cat-related disputes.

Since 2015, AVA has worked closely with CWS to manage cat-related feedback, which includes having CWS help mediate cat-related disputes and advise community cat feeders and cat owners to practise responsible cat feeding and responsible pet ownership.

“CWS is a valued partner in our efforts to promote animal welfare and responsible pet ownership. They play an active role in supporting us to manage cat-related issues on the ground. Given their track record in the use of mediation to mitigate cat-related issues, we are happy to extend our partnership with them. We look forward to continuing our successful partnership with CWS,” said Ms Jessica Kwok, Group Director, Animal Management Group, AVA.

Ms Laura Ann Meranda, Executive Director, CWS said, "We welcome this opportunity to partner AVA and support them in their response to cat-related issues and feedback in Singapore. As a non-profit organisation that has always stood at the forefront of advocating the humane management of cats, this partnership is an acknowledgment of the work that we do and reaffirms the Government's support of mediation as a preferred means to resolve cat-related disputes in the community."

"We expect that there will be increased costs in sterilisation as well as community engagement and outreach from this scope of work so we hope that the public will continue to support us in this ground breaking endeavour. Together we believe that we can achieve the twin goals of humane management of the community cat population and responsible cat ownership," she added.

Call for more support by CWS

Sharing the announcement by AVA on its Facebook page, CWS points out the challenges that it faces in the course of mediation work, particularly on the matters of funding.

Our mediators require the following to fully do their jobs and make a significant impact on society. Now more than ever, we need your generous support to make sure they have the resources to engage the community, advocate with government agencies, assist caregivers around the island as well as low income families with cats towards the goal of better cat welfare.

1) Sterilisation – AVA only funds 50% of sterilisation, the other 50% is undertaken by CWS. Our annual sterilisation costs every year amount to over $200,000 a year beyond AVA’s subsidies.
2) Low Income - Providing financial assistance for sterilisation and welfare to families (and cats) at risk.
3) Trapping Slots – Humane trapping and transportation of cats for sterilisation and other welfare matters costs $100 per assignment and each mediator requires more than 10 trapping slots a month to assist caregivers in cases.
4) Welfare Fund – Our mediators and volunteers have always done their own rescues and rehoming over and above their work in mediation on their own resources. With an anticipated increased workload, they need your support to quickly assist cats in dire need as they work with members of the cat community to find solutions for the potentially thousands of cats that they deal with though their mediation caseload.

Please help keep our team fully effective on the frontline as we continue to drive a wedge into our nation's culling rate, push for HDB cat ownership, tackle backyard breeding, abandonment and abuse, keep pest control practices in check and fully change the way agencies approach cat issues.

You can help simply by making a tax-deductible donation in one of the following ways:
• By cheque: a cheque may be made out “Cat Welfare Society” and sent to the following address: Orchard Road, PO Box 65, Singapore 912303
• By online transfer: you may wish to contribute via https://catwelfaresociety.give.asia/
Other modes of donation may be found at http://catwelfare.org/donations/