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Thu 04 Aug 2005

Shuttle crew see damage on Earth

Category : envt

"Shuttle crew see damage on Earth." BBC News, 04 Aug 2005. Eileen Collins says the Earth's atmosphere looks eggshell thin.

"Discovery Commander Eileen Collins described on Thursday how widespread environmental destruction on Earth is visible from the shuttle.

Discovery is currently linked with the International Space Station, orbiting 352km (220 miles) above the Earth.

"Sometimes you can see how there is erosion, and you can see how there is deforestation," Commander Collins said.

"It's very widespread in some parts of the world. We would like to see, from the astronauts' point of view, people take good care of the Earth and replace the resources that have been used."

Commander Collins, who is making her fourth shuttle flight, said her view from space emphasised how Earth's atmosphere must be protected too.

"The atmosphere almost looks like an eggshell on an egg, it's so very thin," she said. "We know that we don't have much air - we need to protect what we have.""


Posted at 5:16PM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | email |

Thu 04 Aug 2005

Feeding the cat: sustainable stray cat population management

Category : animalwelfare

Dawn Kua has been writing regularly and educating many with her "Working with the Cat Welfare Society" blog. And people are reading; just last night someone remarked they now understand some of the activity in their neighbourhood. And it's not all doom and gloom as the photo on the left depicts - "it was love at first sight" for the cat and the adopter's child.

Her blog is well illustrated with new examples from her work, and as you read, you can pick out the many issues involved in sustainable stray cat management.

One aspect of it is the role of responsible feeding. Simply put, its:

Responsible feeding -> Trust between cats and feeder -> Trap, Neuter, Release (TNR) -> Cat population controlled/stable, recognisable -> Few new cats enter estate -> New ones easily recognised -> Responsible feeding

So responsible feeding coupled with TNR leads to population control. Welcome to the world of the CWS (see an industrious example at VeganCat). Dawn and CWS volunteers have been talking to estate managers and town councils about precisely this, and recuiting and converting feeders.

Do note that each of the steps listed above compresses considerable detail, and could be expanded further. You can fit in the pieces as you follow the blog.

Extracts from a recent post about feeding an estate's cats:

"Many irresponsible feeders do so out of a sense of compassion - they don't realise they are endangering cats when complaints come in."

"It's always easier to get through to these feeders if they feel that the other person speaking to them likes cats, rather than an official or authority figure whom they may perceive to hate cats and worse, who may have been killing their cats."

"We notice that when signs go up to say to stop feeding, the converse happens. The responsible feeders stop and the irresponsible ones don't want to get caught, so they become what we call 'ghost feeders' - ie they throw food surreptitiously in corners, from windows, and scuttle off before they're caught."

"It's important to let people know that feeding is okay - as long as it is done properly. It prevents cats from scavenging from food in bins, it allows for a level of trust to be built up so it's easier to trap the cats for sterilisation and it keeps the cats healthy. And of course, it has to be coupled with sterilisation."

Posted at 3:50PM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | email |

Thu 04 Aug 2005

"CEO of AVA Dr Ngiam Tong Tau retires."

Category : news

"CEO of AVA Dr Ngiam Tong Tau retires." By Margaret Perry. ChannelNewsAsia, 04 Aug 2005.

SINGAPORE : The Chief Executive Officer of the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority, Dr Ngiam Tong Tau, is retiring next week.

He will be succeeded by Dr Chua Sin Bin, who has been Deputy CEO of AVA since April 2000.

Dr Ngiam joined the Primary Production Board - the predecessor of the AVA - in 1969. He was appointed the board's director in 1984 and continued to lead the organisation after it was restructured to form the AVA in April 2000.

A joint statement by AVA and the National Development Ministry said that during his term of service, Dr Ngiam provided strong leadership in food safety, veterinary service, agritechnology and agribiotechnology in Singapore.

He developed and sustained a food safety programme, as well as programmes to provide a stable supply of safe food to Singapore. He also initiated and saw to the successful development of agrotechnology in Singapore and the region.

Dr Ngiam is also the chairman of the Genetic Modification Advisory Committee of Singapore and has been an Adjunct Professor at the National University of Singapore's Department of Biological Sciences for 14 years. He will remain a member of the AVA board after retirement.

AVA's new CEO has worked for the organisation for 34 years. Dr Chua is also currently chairman of the school of Chemical and Life Sciences advisory Committee of the Singapore Polytechnic and Deputy Chairman of the Food Standards Committee of SPRING Singapore. - CNA/ms

Copyright 2003 MCN International Pte Ltd

Posted at 9:14AM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | email |

Thu 04 Aug 2005

"Wildlife Act being reviewed."

Category : trade

"Wildlife Act being reviewed." By Goh Shih Yong (for AVA). Today Voices, 04 Aug 20005. The AVA may also revise penalties.

"I refer to the article, "Turtle soup? Banned species in pet shops" (July 23-24), and the letter, "The authorities need to clamp down on illegal wildlife trade" (July 25), by Mr Parameshvathy Sivalingam and Mr Pramod Madhavan Haridass. We thank them for their feedback.

The Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority (AVA) assures the public that it does not condone illegal wildlife trade. AVA requires all animals to be imported with a permit.

Animals protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites) require a further Cites permit from AVA and a Cites export certificate from the country of origin.

In addition, AVA licenses pet shops for the retail sale of pet animals such as dogs, cats, rabbits, hamsters, chinchillas, red-eared sliders and several types of birds and fish.

AVA adopts a multi-prong approach to prevent illegal animal trade. These include routine inspection of pet shops and public education to raise awareness among traders and the public.

AVA also updates all traders on its regulations on trade in protected animal species such as the turtle.

We would like to clarify the recent enforcement actions taken against a supplier and three pet shops for selling Cites-protected turtles without Cites permits.

The turtles were of a species that had been included in the Cites protection list earlier this year.

They were listed under Cites Appendix II and III ie, they are not in immediate danger of extinction and may be imported or exported commercially if they have the proper Cites import permits. They also bear a close resemblance to the red-eared sliders, a permitted and non-protected species.

Given their similarity to the red-eared sliders and that they were only recently Cites listed, the supplier had inadvertently imported and distributed them to the pet shops. Upon realising its mistake, the supplier took immediate action to recall the remaining turtles from the pet shops.

Taking all these into consideration, AVA believed that the case was a genuine mistake and not an intentional offence. Nevertheless, AVA has issued a warning letter to the supplier and pet shops. We will also not hesitate to impose severe penalties if there is a repeat offence.

AVA understands and appreciates the writers' concern about illegal wildlife trade. We are reviewing the Endangered Species (Import and Export) Act and will consider the revision of the provisions on penalties and enforcement powers.

The public can also play a part in stamping out illegal animal trade. Prior to acquiring a pet, the public should check on the reputation of pet shops and only patronise responsible pet shops.

The public should contact AVA at 6471 7198 or 6227 0670 if they come across any errant pet shops that trade in illegal animals.

Letter from

Goh Shih Yong
Assistant Director Corporate Communications
For Chief Executive Officer
Agri-food & Veterinary Authority
Ministry of National Development

Posted at 4:03AM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | email | Raffles Museum news