National Parks Board works with community and pet industry to review and strengthen standards in the pet sector
17 Aug 2019
- To engage with the community, NParks launches first Pets’ Day Out, a regular rehoming platform
- Stakeholders and public invited to contribute views and shape policies on pet sector
Since taking over the animal-related functions in April 2019, the engagement of the community and stakeholders has been a key focus for the National Parks Board. Today, NParks launched Pets’ Day Out to bring the community together. Pets’ Day Out will also be a regular platform for the rehoming of shelter animals. Ms Sun Xueling, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs and National Development, was the Guest-of-Honour for the event. Moving forward, NParks will be working with the pet sector and community to strengthen animal health and welfare standards. NParks will be working closely with stakeholders and the public and also look into leveraging technology to improve standards and processes.
Inaugural Pets’ Day Out
Pets’ Day Out is a new signature event of the Animal & Veterinary Service (AVS) of NParks. It will be a monthly platform for NParks to engage with the pet community including animal welfare groups, pet businesses, veterinarians and pet owners. A key focus of Pets’ Day Out is to promote and encourage the rehoming of shelter animals through close collaboration with various animal welfare groups. Twelve animal welfare groups are participating in the inaugural edition.
The public can learn about pet care and animal health through free pet health check-ups, talks and workshops, games and shop for pet-related retail. The pet-friendly event provides more opportunities for the pet community to network, together with their pets. Those who are considering having a pet can find out more about pet ownership and pet animals at the event.
Beyond the primary focus on pet adoption and bringing like-minded pet lovers together, Pets’ Day Out will comprise other elements to make the event accessible and inclusive to the wider community, including non-pet owners. This inaugural edition is being held alongside the popular Gardeners’ Day Out at HortPark, which provides all visitors with added educational and recreational options. Regular visitors to Gardeners’ Day Out will have the opportunity to learn about how to interact with animals, which share our environment in a biophilic city in a garden, and participate in other fringe activities. Pet lovers can, in turn, learn more about gardening and plants.
Raising standards of pet breeders and boarders
Based on NParks’ preliminary engagement with key stakeholders in the pet sector, the varying standards, and sometimes poor practices, of pet breeders and boarders have been of concern. As these services impact many pets as well as their owners, NParks will look into raising the standards of breeders and boarders to safeguard the health and welfare of animals involved.
This may be done in various ways, such as improving animal handling and care through staff training. NParks will also explore accreditation or licensing of service providers.
Enhancing traceability of pets
NParks will also be looking at enhancing the traceability of pets. A robust traceability system is critical in protecting public and animal health. In the event a pet is diagnosed with an infectious disease, especially one which can be transmitted to humans, it is important to be able to trace its whereabouts and health status. Enhancing traceability enables NParks to react expediently in the event of a disease outbreak. Better traceability may also allow the community to report lost pets easily and for lost pets to be found more quickly.
A potential way of enhancing traceability is through the use of Near Field Communication (NFC) in pet microchips. Currently, pet microchips require a specialised microchip scanner to be read. With NFC, information about a pet could be updated and linked to a database and retrieved easily via a smart phone.
NParks is also looking to improve the Pet Animal Licensing System (PALS), to make registering the details more convenient for pet owners. NParks will be working with the community to identify more solutions.
Ms Sun, Senior Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs and National Development, said, “To truly safeguard animal health and welfare, we must ensure responsibility and a duty of care along the value chain for which our pets and community animals come into contact with. So we need to work with breeders, boarders, pet associations, pet businesses, veterinarians, AWGs and the public to decide on those common standards to adhere to and to leverage technology where possible.”
Consultations with stakeholders and wider community
NParks will be consulting with other stakeholders and the public to shape the policies on these issues over the next six months. NParks will be conducting workshops and focus groups, followed by consultation with the public in the last quarter of 2019.
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