Tuesday, 18 January 2000

Zoo and SPCA to help find homes for Noah's Ark animals

The Straits Times - Forum

I REFER to the letters on Noah's Ark Lodge (ST, Jan 13).

   We thank the writers for their feedback and suggestions.

   We, too, share their concern for the welfare of the animals at the lodge,
given that the owner of the lodge, Mr Harry Quek, has informed us that he will
not renew his tenancy when it expires next month.

   Mr Quek had also informed us that Mr Raymund Wee was the manager of his

   In December, Mr Quek wrote to inform us that he had told Mr Wee to vacate the
lodge as he did not intend to extend his tenancy.

   The lodge is, in fact, a dog breeding and kennelling farm.

   Over the years, it has taken in many dogs and cats for short-term and
long-term boarding, and these include animals that have been adopted by the
public and left at the lodge for long-term care and board.

   The owner of the farm has the option of returning the animals to their owners
or transferring them to another boarding kennel.

   At present, there are five dog breeding, training and boarding farms in
Loyang that can provide similar boarding services.

   For animals without owners, they will be put up for adoption.

   PPD will work closely with SPCA to assist the farm to find new homes for
these animals.

   In the event that the owner of the farm needs more time to re-house and
relocate the animals, he can ask to extend his tenancy.

   However, Mr Wee cannot do so as he is not the owner of the farm.

   If Mr Wee wants to take over the farm, he will have to bid for the farm when
it is put up for tender after the existing tenancy expires next month.

   In any case, any new tenancy will only be valid until Dec 31, 2002, after
which the land will be set aside for HDB's building programme.

   As part of PPD's regular exercise to tender out land for farming activities,
we have already planned to tender several lots of land next month for various
farming activities.

   One 2-ha plot of land in Pasir Ris Farmway 2 will be tendered out for dog
breeding, training and boarding on a 15-year lease in the upcoming exercise.

   Mr Wee can consider participating in this tender exercise as an alternative

   As for the wild animals on the farm, PPD has been making arrangements to
transfer them to the Singapore Zoological Gardens, which has the knowledge and
resources to care for such exotic animals.

   In fact, our zoo and Night Safari have, all along, played an important role
in conservation.

   They have successfully bred a long list of endangered species in captivity.

   They have also been promoting conservation awareness and better appreciation
for wildlife through public education.

   Allowing farms and homes to keep wild animals runs contrary to conservation
principles as these premises cannot provide the right environment for wild
animals to thrive and breed.

   We would like to reassure your writers that PPD will monitor the developments
at the farm closely to ensure that all the animals will be properly taken care
of, and that their welfare is not compromised.

   GOH SHIH YONG Head Public Affairs for Director of Primary Production Ministry of National Development

Source: The Straits Times
Date: 18 January 2000

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