S'pore to host animal welfare conference

S'pore to host animal welfare conference

SINGAPORE - Singapore will play host to Asia's largest animal welfare conference this month, with around 300 participants from more than 30 countries and territories such as the Philippines, Hong Kong, Iran and Ukraine expected to attend.

The Asia for Animals Conference will be held at the Furama RiverFront Hotel from Jan 13-17. More than 100 organisations will share their experience on issues such as wildlife trade, animals in captivity and campaign strategies.

This is the third time Singapore will be hosting the conference since the biennial event was started in 2001 by the Asia for Animals (AfA) Coalition, a group of 14 animal welfare organisations worldwide which focuses on animals in Asia.

For the first time, one full day has been set aside for working group discussions on six topics: animal testing; wildlife trade; dog and cat meat trade; animals in entertainment; marine mammals in captivity; and how stray dogs are controlled.

The groups will draft strategies on how these issues can be tackled this year, said Mr Louis Ng, executive director of Singapore's Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (Acres), which is part of the AfA coalition.

"The Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations, which got the Indian government to ban dolphins in captivity, is coming here to share how they did that," he said. Acres has been campaigning to get Resorts World Sentosa to release the 24 dolphins in its Marine Life Park attraction.

The conference's guest of honour is Minister for Law and Foreign Affairs K. Shanmugam, who has spoken out on animal welfare issues. Representatives from the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority and National Parks Board will attend as well.

Philippine Animal Welfare Society executive director Anna Cabrera will give a presentation on how to convince lawmakers to enact laws to improve animals' lives.

"In Asia there are still many countries without animal welfare laws, such as China. We wanted to share some tips on how, even with very little resources, groups can get the attention of lawmakers," she said.

Passes for the conference are available at $100 per day. A pass for the full conference is $300, or $250 for students.

To register, go to www.asiaforanimals.com/afa-conference


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