Friday, 10 February 2017

Chicken-culling saga in Year of the Rooster

Culling of 24 chickens in Sin Ming ruffles feathers
The Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore had said that the relocation option for the chickens that were roaming around the Sin Ming area was not viable as land is scarce in Singapore. Foto: Raj Nadarajan

As a debate flared up yesterday over free-ranging chickens that were put down by the authorities in the Sin Ming area, the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) revealed that it received 250 complaints islandwide on free-ranging chickens last year, & they were mostly about noise-related nuisances caused by the birds.

Some of the areas in which chickens were found roaming include Pasir Ris Street 52 & Riverina View near the boundary of Pasir Ris Park.

The authority also disclosed that it put down 24 chickens that were wandering around Thomson View and Blocks 452 to 454 Sin Ming Avenue, after getting 20 complaints last year from residents there, also mainly about noise.

‘Noisy chickens’ in Sin Ming Avenue put down after residents’ complaints
More answers needed from AVA on Sin Ming chickens
Sin Ming chickens: Noise not a good reason to cull them

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Ode To Sin Ming’s Now-Dead Chickens, Put Down In The Year Of The Rooster

The Year of The Rooster has just started, but it doesn’t seem like their year for a group of chickens in Sin Ming Avenue, who were killed for no good reason other than that they were bothering us.

The good folks at the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) told Today that they have put down a group of chickens and roosters that have been roaming around Sin Ming Avenue, based on residents’ complaints. Apparently they’re not afraid of bad luck for the Chinese New Year.

So what did the residents complain about? Noise – whatever noise a chicken can make that can be louder than their TV sets.

related: Sin Ming Chickens Culled By Residents' Complaints

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How many complaints to kill a chicken?

I HAVE no particular love for chickens, unless they are cooked well. But in the case of the Sin Ming chicken culling, I was left clucking at the number of complaints it took to spur the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) into action: 20.

That’s over the course of a year, mind you. And it’s not clear if the complaints were from different people, or the same fella over and over again.

It’s a small number, given that cocks crow at least 365 times a year, and that there must be hundreds of households within earshot of one aspect of the kampung spirit everyone keeps saying we need more of. The kampung is truly gone for good.

related: Fowl talk in Parliament

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Crying foul over Sin Ming fowl cull
National Parks Board is considering a cull if there is a threat of interbreeding between wild chickens & the native - and endangered - red junglefowl (above). ST FOTO

A few days ago, the authorities culled - or euthanised - chickens roaming around Thomson View and Blocks 452 to 454 at Sin Ming Avenue after Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority received 20 complaints from residents - mostly about noise.

National Parks Board is also considering a cull if there's a threat of interbreeding between these wild chickens & the native - and endangered - red junglefowl.

When it comes to protecting the endangered species, I hope there's also an active breeding programme beyond killing (humanely) amorous roosters from the wrong side of the tracks.

related: Chickens are part of kampung living

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AVA defends culling of Sin Ming Ave “chickens” by stating free-ranging chickens pose threat to public health

According to TODAY, Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) revealed that it received 250 complaints islandwide on free-ranging chickens last year and they were mostly about noise-related nuisances caused by the birds.

AVA also disclosed to TODAY that it put down 24 chickens that were wandering around Thomson View and Blocks 452 to 454 Sin Ming Avenue, after getting 20 complaints last year from residents there, also mainly about noise.

AVA added that the free-ranging chickens that are sometimes seen on mainland Singapore are not red junglefowl — an endangered species — though some may resemble them.

related: A note in memory of Broody, one of the culled chickens at Sin Ming Avenue

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10 Facts About the Chickens Removal in Sin Ming, Because #RoosterYear

Instead of the sharp and bright cockadoodledoo of the roosters alerting us to a fresh start, we’ve woken up to the removal of 24 chickens right after the new year celebrations of the Year of the Rooster.

‘Bad luck’, the superstitious might murmur, and ‘What a pity’, some animal lovers might mourn.

Here are some facts to bring you up to speed about the chicken removal in Sin Ming

related: 8 Things You Can Do To Improve Your Luck in the Rooster Year

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Cull the children!

Children in the neighborhood are making helluva lot of noise, cull them!

My sister-in-law’s kids (straight out of DSM-5) are the worst-bred, most ill-mannered brats on planet earth, cull them! The neighbor next door has kids who look at you as if you are transparent; totally zero EQ, cull them!

Thanks AVA for the inspiration! Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore has killed some free-ranging chickens around Thomson View and blocks 452 to 454 Sin Ming Avenue, after it received 20 complaints last year from residents, mostly about the birds being noisy.

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24 noisy chickens culled by AVA

It is rare for the bird flu virus to be transmitted from chickens to humans. Of all the bird flu virus strains, only the H5N1, H9N2, H7N7 and H7N9 (Shanghai 2013 strain) strains have been known to pass from chickens to humans.

Unless you’re the kind of sick pervert who sneaks up behind cockerels and sodomises them, the chances of anyone getting exposed and infected by bird flu from stray chickens is, by AVA’s own admission, rather low. So how is this poultry-cide even justified? Using this public health argument, these chickens are being put down with the same nonchalance as one does fogging to get rid of mosquitoes.

There was a time when chicken-stealing was a thing. With the demise of kampongs, having the occasional cock around serves as a nostalgic reminder of how simple life used to be. Now, with the authorities chick-hunting in response to complaints, all we have left to wake us up in the mornings is the metallic grumbling of the MRT train nearby.

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Culling of chicken, is AVA talking cock?

Let’s observe a moment of silence. A whole family has just been brutally massacred in Singapore. According to a report by TODAY, the authorities have put down chickens that had been roaming freely around Thomson View and Blocks 452 to 454 Sin Ming Avenue. All because some of their human neighbours complained that they were too noisy.

Was the noise really that bad? Were the majority of residents in the area so badly affected by the presence of the chickens that the chickens deserved to die? Well. Apparently the Agri-Food and Veterinary (AVA) received 20 complaints last year. Did all the 20 complaints come from different people? Or did they come from a few residents? But apparently, the AVA will take action whenever it receives complaints about noise.

So all it takes for AVA to kill animals is if they receive complaints about noise. Is that right? Donald Low, Associate Dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, elaborated three reasons why AVA’s decision to cull the chickens just based on the 20 complaints is so wrong.

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AVA resorting to more half truths after mistake in culling 24 endangered red junglefowls?

After receiving flak for its erroneous reaction to 20 complaints, AVA has still refused to acknowledge its mistake. It has the support of the mainstream media such as Today, a Mediacorpse freeshit, which titled the incident “Culling of 24 chickens in Sin Ming ruffles feathers”. Singaporeans should expect AVA to next claim that it has been misunderstood, or that it has never said they were not red junglefowls.

Besides CNA-produced “Wild City” which featured the red junglefowls at Sin Ming Avenue, ST had also published an article in 2010, “If you see this chicken, please don’t cook it”, featuring the same species culled by AVA. In February 2008, this blogger managed to photograph and film more of the same species in Singapore’s Sime Forest.

According to another blog, red junglefowls were actually spotted on mainland Singapore since 1993.

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The Online Citizen SG 1 February at 20:34

AVA defends culling of chickens at Sin Ming Ave by stating that free-ranging chickens pose threat to public heath.

AVA said, “Free-ranging chickens can pose a potential threat to public health, especially if their population is left unchecked. There is a likelihood of an incursion of bird flu into Singapore, as bird flu is endemic in the region,” AVA added that the free-ranging chickens that are sometimes seen on mainland Singapore are not red junglefowl — an endangered species — though some may resemble them.

However, AVA's reply is so similar to those of ministers in Singapore, giving a non-answer to a question. What the public want to know if whether those chickens that were culled are the endangered red junglefowl and not what species the other free-ranging chickens belong to.

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Chicken culling issue raises need for more awareness
A red junglefowl spotted at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve

The recent culling of chickens by the authorities here highlights the constant tension between animal lovers & those who are less enamoured by them, said Minister for Social and Family Development Tan Chuan-Jin yesterday.

"It's a very real issue. It's not just about chickens. It's about dogs, cats & pets in general," said Mr Tan.

"We live in close proximity... Many people are pet lovers but there are people who also don't like pets. We need to exercise mutual understanding and give & take."

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These are the kind of roosters some S’poreans deem too noisy

In this Year of the Rooster, all eyes are on roosters and chickens roaming around estates in Singapore, sometimes to the delight of Singaporeans, sometimes not.

As talk of free-range roosters getting culled become part of national agenda, check out these brood of five roaming chickens discovered at Kang Choo Bin Walk yesterday (Feb. 2), located within the vicinity of Hougang and Kovan.

The brood were clucking away in delight, relishing in their peaceful surroundings… for now.

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Economist Donald Low gives 3 good reasons why AVA shouldn’t have culled the Sin Ming chickens
This time, it's not just about the chickens

On Feb 1., the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) disclosed that 24 chickens at Sin Ming road have been put down.

The reason: AVA received “about 20” complaints from residents about them being a source of noise. AVA also voiced concerns that free-roaming chickens may spread bird flu. And the National Parks Board (NParks, for short) are keen to do the same, but their reason is they’re more concerned with of chickens crossbreeding with red junglefowl, our native breed.

And here’s where we start to look for people who make sense to join the public debate, confusion and outrage over the wanton killing of these chickens, whose year is even being celebrated (there’s got to be something pantang about that).

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The Straits Times 2 February at 03:52

The authorities are planning to cull some of the wild chickens running around Singapore. Why? Here's a 60-second explanation.

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Donald Low shared The Straits Times's video. 2 February at 15:36

This is totally missing the point. And why is the Straits Times taking up the cudgels on AVA's behalf?

The disturbing thing about AVA's decision to cull the Sin Ming chickens is not whether or not they were the pure breed red jungle fowl. This is quite irrelevant. And putting aside the heavily contested ecological and ethical issue of whether it is right to protect an endangered animal species by killing another species that could threaten its purity (even biologists disagree over this), there are at least three reasons why AVA's decision is deeply disturbing. (I'm not a biologist but I study public policy, so I shall focus on my area of study- how are policy decisions arrived at, how are they justified and rationalized, and whether the reasons given are sound and defensible.)

The first is how AVA arrived at its decision. The main rationale seems to be the 20 complaints it has received about noise caused by the chickens over the past year. This is an extremely flimsy justification. The complaints may even have all come from a handful of people. In any society, there is always a small percentage of people who have an irrational dislike or fear of animals. Pandering to the few, while ignoring the preferences of those who are tolerant of animals, is policy-making driven by the complaints of a few.

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