A NATIONAL effort to reduce the number of stray cats by sterilising them humanely is now in place again islandwide after more than a decade.
Under it, volunteers who take strays from HDB estates to selected veterinary clinics will not have to pay a cent to get them sterilised and micro-chipped.
The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) funds half of the costs, while the Cat Welfare Society funds the rest. It typically costs between S$30 (RM76.50) and S$60 (RM153) to neuter a cat and another S$20 (RM51) to microchip it.
A similar programme ran from 1998 to 2003 before it was deemed ineffective and scrapped by the AVA, in favour of removing the then 80,000-strong stray cat population from the streets altogether for public hygiene reasons.
Strays were instead culled, pet owners educated not to abandon cats, and groups encouraged to house them at their own cost.
The AVA’s decision back then was criticised by animal welfare groups, which subsequently funded sterilisations on their own.
The AVA euthanised about 1,000 strays last year, down from 3,300 in 2008 and 13,000 in 2001. — The Straits Times / Asia News Network