Sin eng-8 - protecting your pets

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Sin eng-8 - protecting your pets

  1. 1. Research Education Project 2011 Design for Change Final Report Project Title: “PROTECT YOUR PETS” Group Members: Chen Yupeng – 2F (3) Janson Chew – 2F (4) Edmil Chue – 2F (7) Nigel Nicholas Chew – 2F (18) Jeriel Ng – 2Q (19) 1
  2. 2. CONTENTS PageCover Page/ Project Title………………………………………………………………………….…1Why this Design for Change Journey? ………………………………………………………….…3Our Project – PROTECT YOUR PETS!……………...………………………………………….…3Background Research …………………………………………………………………………….…5Preparation for Action Week .………………………………………………………………….…7-8Protect Your Pets Game ………………………………………………………………………….…9Action Week ………….………………………………………………………………………….…10Reflections ………………….…………………………………………………………………….…11Bibliography …………….………………………………………………………………………….12Appendix 2
  3. 3. Why this DFC journey? For our group’s Research Education project his year, we have decided to take up theDesign for Change challenge – which is a challenge that motivate us to get creative andthink of ways and ideas to solve problems in our environment that bothers us. Initially, our group had a dilemma on what project to embark on, as there was a greatvariety of choices to select from. However, we decided to take up this challenge as we foundit the most meaningful among all of the other project that were available – we could actuallyget a hands-on experience of trying to change the world in a better way, and mostimportantly, with our own ideas. And we can say that we had never regretted the decision wehad made from the start. Our project – PROTECT YOUR PETS! For our project this year, our group have decided to focus on the worrying issue ofpet abandonment and abuse, such as for dogs, cats, rabbits, etc. We have noticed that inrecent years, the number of abandoned pets had increased, and this is a worrying issue.Some people may take this problem slightly – perhaps because they are unaware thatSingapore’s Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) would put theabandoned pets to sleep (which means they are killed) within a couple of weeks if they arenot adopted as the SPCA compound is not very big, and it does not have the capability tohold a very large number of pets. This issue of unawareness and killing of the pet all lead toa single focus – pet abandonment and abuse, and it bothers us a lot to know that innocentpets are abandoned every day by their owners who are supposed to love and care for them,and most of them taken in by SPCA would not have a happy ending. From one of the articles we have read from The Straits Times, we realise that thegeneral public lacks awareness on animal abuse and abandonment. It states that more andmore dog owners now think nothing of leaving their pet in the car for extended periods andthey believe that it is fine when a window is left partially down. However, according to MsDeirdre Moss, an executive officer from A Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals(SPCA), dogs can die from heatstroke in cars, especially in Singapore where the weather ishot. Also, cases of number of alleged cruelty to animals increase by 15 per cent from theprevious year. Mr Mohd Aswat found and rescued 9 abandoned rabbit locked in rusty cagesat a void deck in Tampines this year, though animal welfare associations warned the publicnot to buy rabbits for good luck during the year of rabbit, their warning has definitely beenfallen on deaf ears. All of the above evidences prove that the public needs to be furthereducated on their knowledge on animal abuse and abandonment. 3
  4. 4. Hence, the objective of our Research Education project this year aims to cut downpet abandonment and abuse rates in Singapore by targeting and raising awareness in ourkey audience – primary school students. We have chosen this target audience primarilybecause of a few reasons. Firstly, it is because they are young, and we need to educatethem about important facts about animal abuse and abandonment which they mightmisunderstand or completely do not know about. Secondly, these students, perhaps due totheir misunderstanding, lack of knowledge or ignorance, might end up hurting their pets orother animals – perhaps ending in a situation where they abandon or abuse their own pets.Thirdly, these students might buy animals on impulse or by peer pressure – they might seethat their friends have pets and they decide to own one too without consideringconsequences and sacrifices for caring for and loving a pet. Lastly, and most importantly, weshould educate these young primary school students, as if they are the future generation ofSingapore – if we can manage to successfully teach them about the crimes of petabandonment and abuse, we can not only cut down the pet abandonment and abuse ratesin the near future, but also in the distant future, as this precious knowledge would be passedon from their generation to the next, thus, making them the key to solve this worrying issuein the long run. In order to raise this awareness among the children, we have decide to design aboard game, of which would teach them about pet abandonment, abuse, neglect, thenecessities for caring for and loving a pet, and the problems that one would have toencounter if he decides to own one. Through our game, we hope to etch the importantmessage of the bad consequences of pet abandonment and abuse in their mind bothconsciously and subconsciously. Our service would start perhaps in September, stretching atentative 5 days or so. This period of time would be quintessential to help change andimprove the Singapore’s current alarming problem of pet abandonment and abuse. Wewould perhaps follow Mrs Ng Poh Choo, one of the two education officers of SPCA, to reachout to these students by going to their schools and educate them through our board game. 4
  5. 5. Background Research In this project, the issue of animal abandonment and abuse was involved in thisproject. Therefore, we researched on how to effectively curb the problem of animalabandonment and abuse. Cases on animal abuse could be for the purpose of obtaining theirfur, using animals for entertainment, or perhaps even forcing animals against their own will.And animal abandonment is extremely common, with stray dogs and cats roaming all overthe place, sometimes with a tag, but without an owner. After research, our group decided tocome up with a game to educate young children on the serious issue on animal abuse andabandonment, so that they would be responsible for their actions against animals, andbecome a good ambassador for animal rights in the future. In the case of animal abandonment and abuse, animals living in the wild would beaffected, as hunters would lay traps all over the place to try and capture them, like steel-jawed traps, which can be fatal. Farmers would also electrocute foxes anally to obtain theirfur, and that is downright immoral. Animal abandonment affects everyone in short, as straypets would be left to roam in the wild. They would not be used to their new life, as they werefed regularly and did not have an independent life. This would then cause them to behelpless in the wild, and they would eventually die. Even though various independent petorganizations may take in stray pets, they would be put to sleep if they are not adoptedwithin a few weeks. Currently, the situation of pet abandonment is not as serious yet, as owners onlychoose to abandon their pets, or set animals free during festivals or if their pets grow old andinactive. However, pet owners have to understand that their pets have their own rights too.So therefore, if we educate the young beforehand, the success rate of curbing petabandonment should be quite high. However, for pet abuse, it is quite a serious problem.Wild animals are killed incessantly merely for their fur, and their figures total up to above 50million. This is a great concern, as hunters may also unknowingly kill endangered species ofanimals, causing imbalance in nature. Animals are also used for entertainment morecommonly nowadays, and this is against their own will. Such practices should be stopped,and by instilling that mindset into children, they would most likely not abuse animals whenthey grow up.Some solutions we came up with to solve our problem of animal abandonment were going toone of our primary schools to give a talk to the Primary 5s and 6s and creating a game,which we were considering to make into a board game, card game or online game, possiblyon social networking sites like Facebook. We came up with these solutions mainly with thementality that our solution had to be able to reach out to a large group of Primary 5 to 6 5
  6. 6. students and educate them about animal abandonment. In the end, we chose to make acard game since this was an efficient way to captivate the young pre-teens, and teach themabout animal abandonment. Also, this can reach out to a huge group of people, since wecan teach them about animal abandonment without actually being there physically, so theyare basically teaching themselves. Also, it is cost effective and simple, not needing mucheffort from our target audience to understand or for us to carry out. 6
  7. 7. Preparation for Action Week Our methodology to gather information for our project, in general was via a survey of50 primary 5 and 6 students, and an interview conducted with the Education Officer ofSociety of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA). Before embarking on the project proper, we created a timeline to map out our journeywe were about to take. (Refer to appendix 6) We decided then that our group would split intotwo teams. Edmil and Nigel would be in charge of the interview section; while Janson,Yupeng and Jeriel would be in charge of the survey. Although we did not stick rigidly to thedeadlines we set for ourselves in our timeline due to exams and personal schedules, we didkeep to the idea of splitting the work into two groups. Firstly, 3 members conducted a survey on 50 primary 5 and 6 students. The objectiveof the survey was to find out what our target audience knows, or misunderstands about petabandonment and abuse, and pet care. The survey included questions testing therespondents’ knowledge of pet care (how to properly take care of a pet) and also questionstesting the respondents’ knowledge about the issues of pet abandonment and abuse. Aftermuch vetting through of our survey to ensure that the questions were clear and easily-understood, our surveys were sent out to 50 random Primary 5 and 6 students from differentprimary schools. (Refer to survey: appendix 1) After a week, the results were collected backand collated. (Refer to appendix 2) A survey analysis was then done in order to clearly seethe areas in which the students lacked knowledge. (Refer to appendix 3) After analysingwhat pet issues need to be addressed to our target audience more, we then started oncreating our game to specially cater to these issues. An interview was also conducted concurrently by the other 2 members of our group.We managed to contact and request Mrs Ng Poh Choo, the education officer of the SPCASingapore, to be our interviewee. She kindly agreed to our request, and the interview wasconducted on the 7th of July in Raffles Institution. Our interview included questions firstlyabout the SPCA and what it does. The second category of questions was concerning theissue of abandonment and abuse of animals in Singapore. The last category of questionswas concerning the public awareness of the Abandonment and Abuse of Animals, with theentire interview consisting of 12 questions. (Refer to appendix 4) We managed to gain a lotof information and statistics about SPCA and the issue of abandonment and abuse from thisinterview. We also gained an expert’s view on these issues, and the reasons and causes ofthe issues. (Refer to appendix 5 for interview results) The information gathered from theinterview was used in our game to educate and spread awareness among our targetaudience about these issues, as seen in the explanation of our game later. 7
  8. 8. After finishing and analysing the results for the survey and interview, Edmil and Nigelbegan to brainstorm on ideas for our game. We had to consider the interesting and usefulscenarios and information that Mrs Ng provided us in our interview. After a week of tweakingour ideas to ensure that the game would be educational and fun, we came up with the firstversion of our game. 8
  9. 9. PROTECT YOUR PETS game For one week, we brainstormed about our game. Our game was to be a card game,and its purpose was to educate children about pet care and also raise awareness on issuesof pet abandonment and abuse. Finally after a week, we came up with our first ‘version’ ofour game. We made a simple prototype and did a test run with our group members byplaying the prototype. After this, we then realised problems and tweaked certain parts of thegame. We are currently in the last phase of tweaking our game, before making the finalproduct. We were very fortunate to have Mrs Ng, who is very dedicated in helping us with thisproject. We have been working closely with Mrs Ng from the SPCA, and she helps commentand gives us suggestions on improving our game. We hope that our game can be used alearning tool for the SPCA once it is finished, to be implemented in different Primary Schoolsto educate children about animals. After the test-round using our prototype the revised version of the game is as follows:(Refer to appendix 7 for complete game guidelines)  The game is about owning and taking care of pets (dogs, cats and rabbits) using money.  Money is earned only through answering animal and pet-related questions correctly in ‘question cards’  With the money, the player has to take care of his pet well by buying resources like food and water for his pet.  Depending on the players’ luck good or bad scenarios appear when they pick up ‘chance cards. These scenarios are our tools that help get the abandonment and abuse message across.  The aim of the game is to be able to manage well and take care properly of 3 pets for at least 3 turns. 9
  10. 10. Action Week At the point of writing, our group has not carried out our action week yet. Our projectrequires much research and time to come up with a creative and educational game. Wehave gathered all necessary information, and we have completed and finalised the animal‘question cards’ for the game. (Refer to appendix 8.1-8.6) These questions were firstapproved and amended by Mrs Ng from the SPCA, before we finalised them to put into thefinal game. At present, we are in the process of writing different scenarios for our ‘chance’cards. These would teach the players more about properly taking care of pets and raiseawareness of animal abandonment and abuse in Singapore at the same time. We hope tohave our final and amended ‘version’ of our game to be approved by Mrs Ng in a week’stime. Upon her approval, we shall complete the construction of the final game product. We plan to make at least 2 copies of our product (excluding our prototype). Once ourproduct is completed, we will carry out our Action Week. Mrs Ng has kindly agreed to useour game as a teaching device when she visits Primary Schools or children visit the SPCA,to teach them about good pet care and let them learn more about abandonment and abuseof animals. Another option for our Action Week is that our group follows Mrs Ng to thePrimary Schools (if possible) to introduce our game to the students there. We would also beable to observe first hand how the students respond to playing the game. After our Action Week, we hope to be able to continue expanding on our project. Weare very dedicated and believe strongly in our aim of raising awareness of good pet care,abandonment and abuse of animals in Singapore among young children. Therefore, wehope to improve on our game once again based on the response gained from our ActionWeek. If possible, we will propose our game to the SPCA for it to be used by them as apermanent teaching device. If we actually are able to have a widespread number of studentslearning via our game, we also have thought of creating a corresponding Facebook page.This Facebook page would give the players extra information, and also update them withnew and fresh ‘question cards’ to use in the games. 10
  11. 11. Reflections Although we have yet to carry out the action week, at this point in time, our group hasprogressed quite far and we hope to achieve our targets of successfully educating thestudents about the severe problems of pet abandonment and abuse. In our project, we faced a number of problems. Firstly, we faced the problem ofmanaging our time properly, as many of us are very busy with either homework or familymatters throughout the week, especially during the weekends. As a result, we started to lagbehind our timeline, and after the June holidays, we were just starting to conduct surveysand interviews. Another problem which we faced and slowed us down was the ineffectivecommunication amongst the members of the group, and this added on to our unfinishedtasks and dragged us even further behind the deadlines of the timeline. The last problem that we faced was developing a game simple enough for theprimary 5 and 6 students to understand, yet still be able to allow them to learn more aboutanimal abandonment. It was difficult making the game flawless and be able to run smoothly,because there were some points where people got confused of what they were supposed todo, and also when we ran out of in-game money as well as some of the cards. We also hada limited number of question cards, and when the game dragged on, some of thesequestions were asked again. We also met up to play the game and make a few trial runs andchanged the game here and there so that the game would be able to be as flawless aspossible. There were unforeseen flaws in the game, but fortunately we noticed and correctedthem during our trial runs. Fortunately, we cleared up these problems by talking to each other and remindingeach other to complete tasks more often. Our group practised great teamwork and hence,we managed to catch up with our present assignments, though there can be moreimprovements in the areas of time management and member communication. Through this project, we have gained valuable knowledge about pet abandonment,abuse and neglect. These are all serious problems in Singapore and this experience fromthe Design for Change challenge is one that would always be close to our hearts. 11
  12. 12. AcknowledgementsMr Leon Lai – For his support and guidance for our projectMrs Ng Poh Choo – For helping in our project tremendously and guiding usMs Tan Liling – For helping us find Mrs Ng’s contact 12

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