SINGAPORE: An undercover investigation of 36 shops selling birds found that more than half of them did not comply with the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority's (AVA) licensing conditions, the Animal Concerns Research & Education Society (ACRES) said on Friday (Nov 4).
The survey, conducted by ACRES from August to September this year, found that 19 of the shops breached at least one of the conditions governing the welfare of the animals. These include failing to provide housing in good condition and clean drinking water for the birds.
Thirteen of them displayed birds that suffered from feather loss or visible lesions on their bodies or tails, while 17 sold bird traps for about S$70 each - even though it is illegal to poach wild animals in Singapore.
ACRES deputy chief executive Anbarasi Boopal pointed out that one in three of the shops surveyed actually possessed an "A" grade under AVA's pet shop grading scheme.
She called for a review of the current licence conditions as well as stricter enforcement of existing regulations.
As part of the survey, ACRES also said it found 655 advertisements offering birds for sale on Facebook and three online platforms from June to August. There are no regulations governing the welfare and ownership of these animals, it added.
AVA TO TAKE ACTION AGAINST 15 BIRD SHOPS
In a media release on Friday evening, AVA said it conducted a separate inspection of 27 bird shops that were also investigated by ACRES. AVA found that 15 of them did not comply with some of its licensing conditions and it will take action against those shops.
AVA's inspections were conducted in September and October. Its officers found nine shops which housed birds in dirty cages, four displayed sick birds, four did not provide clean drinking water to the birds and seven did not display their pet shop grade decals.
As for ACRES' finding of 655 online listings selling birds, AVA said 273 of them are related to birds protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). "AVA is working with ACRES to look into these listings," it said.
AVA said it conducts regular, unannounced inspections on all pet shops. It urged members of the public to report any cases of animal cruelty via its 24-hour hotline, 1800-476-1600.