Photographer fined $500 for animal cruelty

Photographer fined $500 for animal cruelty
In August, a man was caught on film tying a little tern to a bush in Tuas so it could be photographed. Photos posted online showed the bird struggling.

A photographer who tethered a tern chick's legs to a bush for a photograph has been found guilty of animal cruelty.

The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) told The Straits Times that it has completed investigations into the case, and the photographer has been fined $500.

"Based on testimony from witnesses and available evidence, AVA has taken enforcement action against the photographer for committing an act of animal cruelty. The photographer has since paid the composition fine," said an AVA spokesman.

The incident drew the ire of the birding community in Singapore in August, when photographs posted on Facebook showed a young tern struggling in front of a bush, unable to move away.

On Aug 17, amateur photographer Jaieden Shen had seen a man tying a baby bird's legs to a bush in Tuas so that it could be photographed, and caught the act on film. The man was believed to have done so to allow two other photographers to snap a better shot of the tern chick.

Little terns are a species native to Singapore which nest on sandy ground. The young are usually flightless until they fledge, which takes about 25 days.

The AVA said that, in general, wildlife in Singapore is protected under the law. A spokesman said: "AVA would like to remind the public who encounter wildlife not to approach, disturb, feed or try to catch them."

Mr Alan Owyong, a committee member of the Nature Society (Singapore) Bird Group, said the welfare of the birds and animals "should be paramount" when people come into contact with them in the wild.

"AVA's actions have served as a warning against the abusive acts of cruelty to the birds and animals in the wild, and those guilty will be punished," he added.

This article was first published on Dec 12, 2014.
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