SINGAPORE: The National Parks Board (NParks) on Saturday (Oct 26) launched a public consultation to gather input on a review of the pet sector.
The consultation, which will be held over two months, follows an announcement by NParks in August where it said it will be working with the community to strengthen animal health and welfare standards.
Members of the public can register their feedback online through a survey and via roving public exhibitions from Oct 26 to Dec 26.
NParks said in a media release that it is looking into raising the standards of breeders and boarders to safeguard the health and welfare of animals involved.
The traceability of pets, which will be critical in protecting public and animal health, is also being looked into.
Focus group discussion sessions have been conducted by NParks since August with various stakeholders in the pet sector on these initial focus areas.
These participants include representatives from pet businesses such as breeders, boarders and pet shops, animal welfare groups, the veterinary profession, and academia.
More focus group sessions will be conducted until January 2020.
PET-RELATED POLICIES UNDERPINNED BY SCIENCE
Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs and National Development, Sun Xueling said NParks will continue to engage stakeholders in the coming months.
"We are heartened by the interest and support from various stakeholders in NParks’ pet sector review," she added.
NParks said that it will collate input from the public consultation as well as focus group sessions and share them in early 2020.
"The inputs will be used to shape pet-related policies, and will be underpinned by science," NParks said.
At the focus group sessions with stakeholders so far, NParks said there was consensus that pet breeding and boarding standards should be raised.
Other suggestions included enhancing guidelines to ensure animal health and welfare, certification and training for the staff, and greater measures to deter errant breeders and boarders.
Participants also recommended that measures could be introduced to encourage more pet owners to license their dogs, as well as a common registry to encourage owners to microchip cats and dogs.
Another key area discussed was the gap in public knowledge about pets, from things to look out for when purchasing a pet, boarding a pet and how to behave around animals.