It appears that the saga of the Thomson Sin Ming estate free-roaming jungle fowls and chickens continues, this time with news that some of these fowls will be taken to a new home in a farm in Seletar West where they will be cared for as pets.
According to a flyer received by a resident named Jun Chong on 7 October, residents were informed about feedback received that the population of these chickens have grown, on top of several noise complaints of people who have been working from home during the pandemic.
Therefore, the flyer said, that the chickens will be relocated to a farm in Seletar West. A little research revealed that this farm is likely The Animal Resorts.
However, the flyer did not specify just how many of these chickens will be relocated nor whether the native and rare jungle fowls will be making the move as well. On to of that, the flyer also did not specify how the residents’ committee made the conclusion that the population of these free-roaming fowls had grown out of control.
Earlier in January 2020, Jun Chong, who is also a filmmaker, made a short film about the culling of these fowls which took place about two years ago by the then Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) after noise complaints were made relating to the animals. The film is called New Resident and you can watch it on the New Resident Facebook page, where Mr Jun shared an image of the latest flyer.
Thomson Sin Ming Court fowl saga
In 2017, the AVA said it received 20 complaints about noise and concerns of bird flu due to the 24 free-roaming chickens in the Thomson Sin Ming court estate. Those complains called for the birds to be culled but the authorities, which they did.
However, the move sparked an outcry across the country, with the public questioning the need for such a drastic measure against relatively harmless animals. Questions were also raised about whether these were actually domestic chickens or endangered red jungle fowls.
The AVA came out to defend this move by saying that the chickens are a possible threat to public health.
The authority said, “Free-ranging chickens can pose a potential threat to public health, especially if their population is left unchecked. There is a likelihood of an incursion of bird flu into Singapore, as bird flu is endemic in the region.”
After the culling, Nee Soon MP Louis Ng Kok Kwang asked the Minister of State for National Development Dr Koh Poh Koon in Parliament about the authorities’ methods in dealing with these creatures, specifically questioning Dr Koh’s description of the birds as ‘chickens’.
Dr Koh said, “Some have suggested that the chickens could be relocated to the wild, for example, in places like in Pulau Ubin or other forested areas. But the chickens in Sin Ming and in most of our urban settings are highly unlikely to be of native stock and are therefore different from our indigenous breed of Red Jungle fowl, which is an endangered species known to occur only in Pulau Ubin and the Western Catchment area. ”
However, Mr Ng pointed out: “I have seen the photographs of the chickens or some of them at Sin Ming Avenue. They are indeed a Red Jungle fowl. There are two birds there: the domestic chickens and the Red Jungle fowl. Just to clarify because AVA had mentioned earlier that the free-ranging chickens seen on mainland Singapore are not the Red Jungle fowl. That statement is inaccurate.”
Later in 2019, residents of Thomson Sin Ming Court decided to take the fowl matter into their own hands by conducting a poll to decide on whether to continue letting the jungle fowls in the area to roam free, despite some noise complaints.
A poll was conducted by the Thomson Sin Ming Court residents’ committee (RC) following the noise complaints from residents pertaining to the fowls. Residents could either let the authorities relocated the free-roaming fowls or leave them alone. However, back then, no information was given on where the wild birds would be relocated to.
At the time, over 90% out of more than 1,000 residents voted to leave them alone. Submitting their responses to the RC in a voluntary polled that closed on 31 May 2019, residents decided to keep their feathery friends around.