By Lam Yat Yee
Hello, residents of Ipoh.
We have some disturbing news to share with you; according to several eyewitnesses, there have been several cases of cat catching in Canning Wet Market. In case you’re confused, yes, by cat catching, we mean that cats are being caught and taken away from their home in Canning Wet Market.
These friendly felines, many who had been companions to the vendors and even visitors of Canning Wet Market since they were kittens, had been targeted to be forcibly removed by unidentified individuals, with the most recent case taking place on the 14th of June, Wednesday.
You may be thinking that hey, cats wander all the time, what’s the big deal?
But consider this: some of the missing cats had been living at the market for over a decade. But while concrete evidence is lacking, the sudden collective absence of numerous local cats that had been under the care of various Canning Wet Market vendors, and numerous witness accounts makes this a potential act of animal cruelty that we need to be wary of.
Especially when the cats who are no longer there are mostly the aged, the ill, and even the newborn. The helpless.
However, in retrospect, one must consider how exactly those cats ended up at the market in the first place. The cats didn’t just decide to congregate there one day, did they?
No. The worries we face today, and the uncertain future these strays face today, all zeroes down to the matter of animal abandonment. And every time a person deserts an animal in a location with no shelter, care, or any necessary provisions to ensure its survival, the matter starts all over again. And again. And again.
To a point where external intervention becomes an inevitability – which brings us to the issue of solutions and ethicality.
A plausible example of unethical regulation of stray animal population would be the aforementioned case of cat catching in Canning Wet Market, where allegedly, the cats were relocated to foreign and unsanitary environments.
In such, it is important to be aware that capturing and relocating strays to strange new environments is generally harmful for the animals. This is because the strays are usually well-adapted to their territory, hence, relocation can cause them distress, disorientation, and potentially cause territorial conflict among the relocated and local strays.
Cruel, unsustainable, and immoral.
In efforts to avoid such situations, there are numerous ongoing programs being carried out by NGOs such as Noah’s Ark Ipoh that are working on regulating local stray populations via humane methods that do not harm the animals involved. Such methods include spaying and neutering programs, Trap-Neuter-Return programs, adoption and fostering programs, as well as awareness programs.
However, when people fail to understand that valuing efficiency over humanity is not a step forwards, but backwards, sinister things happen.
When the abandoned strays overpopulate an area, this puts them at risk of several inhumane, unethical methods of regulating animal population. Namely, animal euthanasia (a.k.a. indiscriminate culling), poisoning, harmful traps, unplanned relocation, and such savage, unsustainable actions.
We cannot let this be the fate of the strays of Ipoh – or anywhere else.
It is important that we, as humans, know to treat not only cats but every other life form with kindness and to respect their well-being as much as our own.
As such, collaborations between all parties – citizens, NGOs, Government Organisations, advocates, and everyone else – are vital to executing sustainable and viable stray population regulation programs that focus on sterilisation, responsible ownership, education, and collaboration with animal welfare organisations.
Should you find any of the following cats or witness any cases of animal cruelty, kindly reach out to the stated persons or contact any of the following people, Dr. Ranjit (019 556 8292), Puan Fazila (012 437 2932), or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.