Teach With Kindness #ChooseForceFree
SPCA Singapore’s new initiative, ‘Teach with Kindness’, is a movement that aims to spark community conversations on better regulation in the animal training industry. Scroll down to find out how you can help us!
Keeping in the spirit of World Animal Day (4 October 2020), the initiative seeks to promote humane, force-free, and evidence-based training methods among pet owners, for example, the use of rewards such as food, toys or praise to promote desired behaviours.
The SPCA is also continuing in its call for a ban on the use of the electric shock collar, as the device has no place in animal training. Its use is already banned or significantly restricted in numerous countries and jurisdictions such as the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, and parts of the United Kingdom (UK) and Australia.
For several decades, SPCA has seen cases reporting the use of forceful and aversive animal training methods in Singapore, predominantly in dog training. These include beating, kicking, choking and hanging, all known to cause pain, injury, fear, distress, and anxiety. While most reports have involved pet owners, a few have included dog trainers.
In a 2017 case, a trainer hung a pet dog using its leash and strangled the animal till the dog sputtered blood (see video below).
“The animal training industry is in urgent need of change. A comprehensive review and the introduction of enhanced regulations are necessary, to achieve improved animal welfare outcomes. It is truly concerning that there are still trainers out there who are promoting the use of physical punishments such as choking and hanging of dogs and teaching these unacceptable methods to their clients. Our key objectives are to stamp out these archaic practices, provide support to pet guardians, and equip them with the knowledge and skills to humanely train their pets”, shares Dr Jaipal Singh Gill, SPCA executive director.
Signed by 14 animal-related organisations
SPCA’s position statement on animal training has been supported and co-signed by 14 animal-related organisations, including 12 animal welfare groups, Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS), and the Singapore Veterinary Association (SVA).
An SVA spokesperson adds, “Animal training needs to be based on up-to-date scientific research and force-free approaches to uphold animal welfare. This will bring us one step closer to a kinder Singapore.”
SPCA’s campaign website (teachwithkindness.spca.org.sg) provides educational material on training methods, and information on webinars and activities being held in October as part of our World Animal Day celebrations. The SPCA will also be distributing 100 free no-pull harnesses to pet guardians, in exchange for aversive training tools such as choke collars and electric shock collars.
How you can help
- Lend your voice by signing an ‘Animal Training Pledge’ at teachwithkindness.spca.org.sg, and read the Resources page.
- Trade-in your aversive tool for a free no-pull harness (apply here)
- Join our pet care webinars & check out our WAD promos at spca.org.sg/webinars2020
- Share your training stories on Instagram and hashtag #chooseforcefree #teachwithkindness