Sin eng-6 - promoting animal welfare

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Sin eng-6 - promoting animal welfare

  1. 1. Raffles Institution Year 2 Research Education Design for Change School Challenge 2011 PROMOTION OF ANIMAL WELFARE Team Leader : Yu Yuxiang (2I)Team Members : Chin Synn Khee, Joash (2I) Fong Wei Cheng (2I) Lim Ao Jun Joel (2I) Teacher-Mentor: Mr Jai Singh
  2. 2. Table of contentsPg 1 -------------------- cover pagePg 2 -------------------- table of contentPg 3 -------------------- Chapter 1 (why this DFC journey)Pg 4 -------------------- Chapter 2 (background research)Pg 6 -------------------- Chapter 3 (preparation for action week)Pg 7 -------------------- Chapter 4 (our action week)Pg 9 -------------------- reflectionsPg 10 ------------------ Acknowledgements 2
  3. 3. Chapter 1 : Why this DFC journey? a) Brief description of why your team has chosen to take part in this DFC Challenge b) Objectives of your project c) What change are you campaigning for? What bothers you a lot? d) Brief overview of your solution/project (brief description of project – what is it about, what are the issue/issues your team is looking into, how your team carry out the service, who is involved, where is the service, duration of service, etc) We chose to participate in this Design For Change challenge as we were greatly motivated by the problems in our society. Despite Singapore being a world-renowned country, famous for its law- abiding citizens and its low crime rates, it is still just another country with its own problems. And one such problem in our society would be the acts of cruelty committed against animals. As such, we decided to take part in this DFC Challenge to make a change to this major problem. Our objectives are to raise awareness of this issue of animal cruelty in Singapore, promote animal welfare and prevent animal abuse. We fight for a change, a change such that Singaporeans have the proper attitude towards animal abuse and will actively contribute for the good of animals. We are looking into the issues of the lack of awareness of animal abuse and the starving stray population. To solve this, we must not only do such work ourselves, but we must also encourage others to do so. This can be done by raising awareness of animal abuse amongst the general population, and getting fellow schoolmates to aid us in our activities. The people who were involved at one point or another were basically the four of us, the members of the public whom we approached and talked about animal welfare with, the friends who helped us in our activities such as feeding strays and the people who donated to us so that we could channel those donations to the organization „Action for Singapore Dogs‟ (ASD). In the course of our project, we carried out our solution in these areas – our school, Raffles Institution, the area outside Bishan Interchange and Junction 8, various flats in the Bishan region and the organizations SPCA and ASD. Each section in our Action Plan was carried out for a few hours each day, but the days were not consecutive due to time constraints. 3
  4. 4. Chapter 2 : Background research a) What sort of research/findings/issue is involved in the project? b) Who/what is affected? c) Analysis of severity of current situation? d) What are the various solutions for the issue/problem? e) How did you arrive at the solution? Animal abuse, while having very serious repercussions, is a largely ignored crime in Singapore. Sometimes, the case is such that people do not realize that what they have been doing is actually classified under cruelty towards animals. This lack of knowledge of pet care and lack of awareness amongst us ignorant Singaporeans has led to the steady rise in animal cruelty reports, with purportedly a thousand such cases last year. Animals are directly harmed as a result of this rising trend in animal abuse, and this results not only in a large stray population, but also a high animal death rate. There are many cruel practices against animals that are, sadly, condoned in our society. One such example would be putting choker leashes on dogs. While this is supposed to teach them to not jerk around while being walked, this is a very cruel method of doing so as it inflicts much hurt upon the poor pet during the process. Another example would be keeping pets in small cages. Although some do this for the animal‟s own good, to prevent it from accidentally causing harm to itself, it is a very torturous thing for the pet as it lacks freedom in such a small, confined space. It is a guideline from AVA that pets should have enough space to lie down, stretch, and stand upon their hind legs. Some Singaporeans are unwilling to even provide that little bit of liberty for the pet. Such small cages are basically no different from jail cells for prisoners. Another major issue is the abandonment of pets. Many Singaporeans treat pets as a sort of short- term enjoyment, to be thrown away after a while, or disposed of once the pets outgrow their „infant‟ stage, as they are no longer cute anymore. This is not what pets are. Pets are long-term investments that truly affect one‟s lifestyle. If one is unprepared to take up the challenge, one should not get a pet. Also, most Singaporeans obtain their pets from pet stores, instead of adoption of stray animals from organizations such as SPCA. This practice would only serve to support the puppy mills which cruelly breed the pets, and would only bring about more harm against animals as it would be supporting the sinister practices that these puppy mills do. A factor contributing to the high rate of pet abandonment in Singapore could be the fact that not many are willing to sterilize their pets. This may not seem like a big issue, but sterilization prevents unwanted births. Without sterilization, pets can reproduce very easily. Their offspring would most likely be cast off if unwanted, and these pets become the many stray animals we see about Singapore. Sterilization does little harm, but brings about so much good, and in fact contributes to the health and happiness of pets. As such, one solution for this problem could be to encourage the general public to bring their pets for sterilization. If some are unwilling as they are bent on having pets, sterilization could perhaps take place after birthing a litter. Studies have shown that if all pets in Singapore are sterilized, the large stray population will, over some time, diminish, and there will no longer be unhappy, unwanted animals roaming the streets of Singapore. Some have criticised Singapore‟s less-than-strict laws on animal abuse, as punishment for cruelty towards animals is, more often than not, not carried out, and even if it is, the punishment is usually not very harsh. Stricter laws should govern this evil practice, to prevent Singaporeans from causing harm to animals, be it unwittingly or intentionally. 4
  5. 5. Many Singaporeans, as mentioned earlier, do not have clear ideas on what goes under the largecategory of cruelty to animals. This results in indifference from pet owners when their pets appear tobe distressed, as they are unaware that their actions are actually causing pain for their pet. Also,some Singaporeans are not aware of, or choose to ignore cases of animal abuse around them. Thus,the abuser goes away scot-free, while lasting scars remain upon the poor, innocent animal.Therefore, another solution could be to spread to the public information about animal welfare andcruelty. Singaporeans should have a heightened sense of awareness about animal abuse, and havea clearer idea on what classifies under it. Upon noticing such activities taking place, one should nothesitate to contact authorities or organizations such as SPCA who can help resolve the problem.This can be achieved through giving out brochures at public areas and getting members of the publicto sign pledges to show their support for animal welfare and to remind themselves to be upright petowners.Singaporeans are much too passive about this issue. Many of us neglect our duty to help theseanimals, and simply cannot care less about animal welfare. As such, it is not just the animal abuserswho are at fault, as we are people who simply accept that animal abuse is firmly rooted in oursociety and are unwilling to do anything to rectify this situation. To tackle the issue, the solution neednot be to attack the abusers; it could be to change the mindsets of other apathetic Singaporeans. 5
  6. 6. Chapter 3 : Preparation for Action Week Briefly describe the action plan a) Work Allocation (what need to be done and who did it) b) Timeline of tasks c) Resource Management (Finances/Funding/ Manpower/Time) d) Risk Management e) Who is involved? f) Survey, interviews, observations Our action plan consists of seven separate days of activities to promote animal welfare, and this consists of four main sections, which are: 1. Gathering background information, Setting up a Facebook page, Creating posters and brochures 2. 3-Day Exhibition @ Main Atrium 3. Handing out brochures, Getting people to sign pledge board/book 4. Collecting funds, Feeding strays To start off, we gathered some information about the problem in our society and wrote our background research section. We set up a Facebook page at http://tinyurl.com/welfare-of-animals to garner support from our peers and spread awareness amongst Singaporeans of this severe issue of cruelty to animals. Posters for our exhibition later on were produced by Yuxiang, with pictures than were given to us by the SPCA. Joel designed the brochures, which was later vetted by our teacher mentor, which we plan to hand out at public areas after our exhibition. These brochures aim to educate about the severity of animal abuse and to provide some basic but important background information as well as animal ownership tips. Joash then designed a pledge board, which we planned to get people to sign. Wei cheng also made a smaller pledge book for the same cause. The pledge on our pledge book was : “ We pledge to never abuse animals and be responsible pet owners (if you are one)” All of this was done on 18th July. For the exhibition itself, All four of us took turns being there, and for most of the days, Joel was the photographer. At a later date, we also canvassed donations from the people around us to send to the “Action For Singapore Dogs”. We also planned to go into public areas and feed some stray cats that we find. Joash volunteered to be the one feeding the strays and Yuxiang was in charge of photography. There were not a lot of funds that were needed, and most of it came from the donation to the Action for Singapore Dogs. This money was donations by the group members and their family and friends. The only other fund that we needed was to print our posters and to buy cat food to feed the stray cats, and both were provided by the group members. 6
  7. 7. Chapter 4 : Our Action Week a. What are the actions carried out in the Action Week? (Be specific) b. Description of the processes of our actions – activities/ materials etc. (show pictures c. Impact of our actions – support with evidence like photos/feedback/comments from participants etc.Day 1 - Setting up a Facebook page, Creating posters and brochuresOn 18th July, we officially started our action week. The first day was mostly spent on preparing materialsfor the later part of our action week, with the poster, brochures, pledge book and pledge boarddesigning. The poster was done on a board that was provided by the school. The graphics wereprovided by the SPCA. We designed the brochures ourselves, and it was letter improved on by ourteacher mentor Mr. Jai Singh. On top of these preparations, we also created a face book page, whichwe updated regularly with facts on animal abuse. Our friends were also actively engaging in discussionswith us about our views on animal abuse.Day 2-4 – 3 days Design For Change exhibitionOn 19th to the 21st of July, we also held a joint exhibition for a few days with all the other Design ForChange project groups in Raffles Institution. This exhibition was held at the main atrium, and manystudents came down to look at our posters and learn more about the issue of cruelty to animals inSingapore. A quiz comprising questions for all the project groups‟ exhibitions was also created andhanded out to students and teachers who came down to learn more about the DFC Challenge and thework that we had done. We also brought out our pledge board for students and teachers to come downand sign their names. 7
  8. 8. Day 5-6 – Giving out brochures, Getting people to sign our pledge book and pledge boardFor two days, on the 29th of July and the 2nd of Augest, we handed out our brochures at an areabetween Bishan MRT and Junction 8. Not only did we help to spread awareness in this way, but we alsobrought along a pledge board and a pledge book for animal lovers to show their strong, burning desiresto help save animals and to remind all pet owners to be responsible, upright ones.Day 7 – Feeding stray catsOn the 10th of August, we went to the Bishan area, where there were many HDB flats, and tried to findstray cats to feed. Besides from feeding the stray cats, we also gave a brochure about responsible catfeeding to a fellow cat feeder. Apart from feeding stray cats, we also canvassed for donations from ourfamily and friends to send to the Action for Singapore Dogs. The picture on the right hand side is theacknowledgement receipt of our donation. 8
  9. 9. Chapter 5 : Reflections a. What objectives were met/ not met? Why? b. Our thoughts 1. „I can’ reflection – think about how much have you and your team has displayed this attitude and belief in the cause? 2. Strengths & weaknesses of team 3. Challenges or difficulties encountered within the team 4. Learning points (See next page for guiding questions) 5. Improvements to be made After the whole project, as our group thought back on our original plans of our project and how it turned to, we decided that it was mostly a success. Our objective, which was to promote animal welfare, was met. Even though this is not directly measurable, we can see that during the course of our action week many people were influenced by our project. When we were giving out brochures and asking people to sign our pledge board, some people actually approached us themselves to ask to sign our pledge board. There were also many members of the public that actually studied out pledge board as they walked pass. When we were out feeding stray cats, there were also people watching, and we think that these people are influenced, even if only a little, by our action. Our facebook group was also a success, and we now have around 50 people liking our page. We, as 4 individuals, have brought about some change in our environment, our society, and I think this is what our project and this competition is all about – bringing a change. As for the I Can attitude, out team has displayed this. At the beginning of this project, it seemed quite daunting- how are we, 4 normal secondary 2 students, going to bring about a positive change in our society? But however, after brainstorming for ideas and taking this project step by step, we have actually came a long way. For our team, there are some strength and weaknesses. Joash was actually very familiar with feeding stray cats, so he knew what we are supposed to do when feeding them. However, our team also had weaknesses, and I think the most important one was that we procrastinated a lot. The pace of our project only started picking up at the second half of the year, so as compared to the other groups we had less time to do our project. We think that a few improvements can be made to our project and hopefully the competition itself. Firstly, now that our group thought about it, we felt that our project should focus more on the cause then the effect. Feeding stray cats is just helping to lessen the effects of animal mistreatment, and we think that we should have focused more to targeting animal mistreatment itself. Also, our action week should have more long-term solutions. We also feel that some changes can be done to the competition itself to make it better. There should be some money given to all the competing teams, so as to solve the monetary problem. Groups would then be able to focus more on solving the problem the best way, not solving the problem the cheapest way. 9
  10. 10. AcknowledgementOur first thank-you goes out to our teacher-mentor, Mr Jai Singh, for his invaluable guidancethroughout the course of this project. He truly aided us in many ways, such as helping us word ourvarious posters and brochures properly, and providing us the boost and encouragement we neededto complete this project.We would also like to thank all the students who have participated alongside us in our variousactivities to promote animal welfare. Without these fellow peers of us, we would have been unable tocomplete this project.We also send our great gratitude to all the members of the public who supported our cause byreading our posters, our brochures, and signing our pledge board and pledge book. They truly aregreat animal lovers who will go to great lengths to save animals from cruelty.Lastly, we would also like to thank all our other friends and families for their unwavering support andhelp in times of need. It would certainly have been a nigh-impossible task without these ferventsupporters. 10

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