SINGAPORE: NParks announced on Saturday (Aug 17) that it will take steps to work more closely with the pet sector and community to strengthen animal health and welfare standards.
Community engagement, NParks said, has been a key focus since it took over animal-related functions in April this year.
To that end, NParks said that it will now be working “closely with stakeholders and the public and also look into leveraging technology to improve standards and processes”.
Based on its preliminary engagement with its key stakeholders in the pet sector, NParks found that the varying standards - and sometimes poor practices - of pet breeders and boarders have been of concern.
“As these services impact many pets as well as their owners, NParks will look into raising the standards of breeders and boarders to safeguard the health and welfare of animals involved,” it said.
“This may be done in various ways, such as improving animal handling and care through staff training.”
Accreditation or licensing of service providers will also be explored, NParks added.
“To truly safeguard animal health and welfare, we must ensure responsibility and a duty of care along the value chain for which our pets and community animals come into contact with,” said Ms Sun Xueling, Senior Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs and National Development.
“So we need to work with breeders, boarders, pet associations, pet businesses, veterinarians, animal welfare groups and the public to decide on those common standards to adhere to and to leverage technology where possible.”
Enhancing the traceability of pets will be another area NParks will look at improving.
One of the ways it is exploring to make tracing pets easier is through the use of Near-Field Communication (NFC).
“Currently, pet microchips require a specialised microchip scanner to be read. With NFC, information about a pet could be updated and linked to a database and retrieved easily via a smart phone,” said NParks.
Improving traceability would also allow NParks to react quickly in the event of a disease outbreak.
“In the event a pet is diagnosed with an infectious disease, especially one which can be transmitted to humans, it is important to be able to trace its whereabouts and health status,” said NParks.
It added: “Better traceability may also allow the community to report lost pets easily and for lost pets to be found more quickly.”