Thursday, November 02, 2006


That's the number of cats "humanely destroyed" by the SPCA Singapore in its last FY ending 30 June 06.

Its latest annual report came through the post today, and here are some grim statistics on cats:

No. brought in: 5,568
No. of adoptions: 358
No. claimed/rehomed/released: 138
No. in shelter: 60
No. humanely destroyed: 5,012

90% of the cats brought in to the SPCA are humanely destroyed (I love euphemisms!).

Why? Because SPCA does not have the space nor financial resources to keep all 5,568 of them in the shelter.

Why were these 5,568 cats brought to the SPCA then? Because some of us humans have deemed that cats cannot and should not co-exist with us in our clean, modern urban dwellings. Ergo, these cats are condemned and kaput!

Of course, some of the 5,012 cats HAVE to be put to sleep because they were victims of OUR abuse, and letting them go is the solution to their physical and emotional suffering.

But what about the rest?

Finishing them off with a lethal jab is, of course, the easiest way out to the "overcrowding" situation. But is it really humane? From whose perspective is it humane anyway? When did they become lesser beings?

Indeed, if you look at it from a certain perspective, dying seems to be far better off than living life as a community cat - running away from nasty children, watching out for cruel abusers, suffering from constant hunger and cold, and living in perpetual fear of pest controllers.

What bothers me is this: Why can't we accept these animals on their own terms? Why don't we learn to tolerate them? Afterall, we don't go around rounding up people whom we dislike and finish them off with a gun, do we? (Unless, of course, you are from the mafia.)

I know putting animals to sleep is a nasty job which the SPCA had to do. Because WE allow it to happen. And which is why I have decided NOT to donate to the SPCA. I know it also needs funds for public education and outreach activities and sterilisation of strays etc. SPCA has done a decent job in raising awareness of animal welfare and deserves a pat on the back. But I cannot sign on the dotted line, knowing that part of my donation would go towards the killing of 5,012 cats.

I think my money would be better used in sterilising the community cats in my neighbourhood and allowing them the chance to live out its life as a fellow being.

Kootoo - one of the lucky few put up for adoption at the SPCA in May 2005.


KXBC said...

Well, I don't like to see cats being put to sleep but if you put yourself in SPCA's shoes, they had the hardest and worst job in the world.

You are an animal lover who probably has numerous pets at home throughout your life.
You join the SPCA hoping to make life for the strays easier.
Due to lack of physical and financial resources, you had to make a decision to let them go. It seems the only way out. There is not much choice.

I cannot imagine the heartbreak and agony they go through everytime they push the needle into the cats and dogs while the animals look at them with those big innocent eyes.

calsifer said...

Mama Porky, we're in the same litter tray on this! Erm, yeah?

But seriously, that's why I do not donate to SPCA either. By doing TNRM - sterilising my neighbourhood strays and caring for them - I have control over the fund use.

kxbc, I don't think the question is about whether SPCA's got to do it. I'm a realist and I don't believe the SPCA can ever be free of that part - it's the sheer numbers that's disturbing. Together with the AVA's toll, 13,000 cats are killed annually through 'humane destruction'.

With dogs, that's 20,000-21,000 strays every year.

I was told that the majority of cats surrendered to SPCA are strays. I can't get over the feeling that the modus operandus of handlnig stray surrender could be changed or modified to reduce that number.

Sorry for taking over the soapbox, KMM. I'm done. =P

cat_aunty said...

I agree with KMM.

jennifer said...

lucky lucky cat. When I was in SPCA last time for the vochers, i went to take a look at the cats. They were begging me to bring me home. I told my sister that if i were there again, i will not vist the cats again.

It pained my heart to see that the same cats were no longer there.

i actually had the same feeling as calsifer. I felt that if my money is donated to SPCA, it is used mainly to put cats to sleep. I know it may not be true but i really hated to see friendly cats died that way.

Anonymous said...

I am intending to adopt a cat, and this time round I've decided to adopt from SPCA. Why not from catwelfare bulletin board or the other cat shelters instead since they do not practice euthanisia? I guess if I chose to not support SPCA's work, then i'll inadvertently be condemning all the cats currently at SPCA. SPCA is still the shelter which most of the public turns too, perhaps due to the lack of publicity of the other shelters. It's a vicious cycle. If we stop supporting SPCA's work, more cats will have to be euthanised. And because cats are euthanised, we dont support SPCA.

Kootoo and M&M said...

Anonymous, it's great to hear that you are adopting a cat from the SPCA. I think the issue here is not about supporting the SPCA. I do - but not the whole package.

When I adopted Kootoo from the SPCA, I was happy to learn that by adopting him, it means that another cat can then be put up for adoption there. Sounds great eh? Adopt a cat and save another!

I was about to sign on the SPCA donation form when it struck me that it puts "unwanted" cats to sleep. More than 5,000 of them annually, to be precise. And SPCA does not hide this fact. So does it mean that I am giving money to support the "humane destruction" of cats? That doesn't make sense!

I am a realist too, I know the constraints the SPCA faces. But is "humane destruction" absolutely right? I think NOT.

What is SPCA's charter? To promote kindness to animals and to prevent cruelty to animals. And has it achieved its objectives by putting thousands of animals to sleep? What is the message that the SPCA is sending out?

Of course the SPCA is doing commendable work educating the public on responsible pet ownership, sterilising strays etc. But is it doing enough "right" work - ie pushing for more effective ways of containing stray population through TNRM/Stray Cat Rehabilitation Scheme?

I shudder at the sheer number of animals that it had to put down. No doubt it is a horrid job, not one that the SPCA does with relish.

So why do we accept the "humane destruction" of stray animals as almost the only way out?

I look forward to the day when more cats are sterilised and released by the SPCA rather than simply "humanely destroyed".

KXBC said...

It's not the SPCA who is to blame for the suffering and agony of those strays who will be put to sleep.

It is us humans who sent them there to their final destruction. Just think. If there is no complaint, the SPCA would probably not be there to capture the stray. If no one has abandoned the animal, it probably would not end up in the SPCA either.

I agree with Anon. It's a vicious cycle. The more you don't support SPCA, more strays may just die because it has less resources.

I agree with them putting up the numbers of strays being p.t.s. Hopefully that number will make someone who is thinking of dumping their pet rethink their decision again. That number highlights how uncaring we are towards animals as a society. We are an uncaring society, save for some. FULLSTOP.

I do hope the day will come soon when cats are allowed to be kept in HDB as pets. I do hope that this blatant dicrimination will end. That Ministers and policy makers who stay in private property and who probably has no time to ever interact with a friendly stray cat, will wake up and let heart rule over their animal uncaring mind.

cat_aunty said...

Whoa, Kootoo used to be such a waif! Now he looks like a very distinguished gentleman! Good job!