Monday, April 20, 2009

ACRES: Singapore group brings animal protection issues to the people

Asian countries have often been the subject of conservation issues - ranging from illegal wildlife trade to overfishing to market demand for products from threatened or endangered species. And in many Asian nations, the rights of free speech and dissent are sometimes carefully monitored and controlled - and abused in the eyes of some.

Which is why I found this news item in the Australian online paper, Perth Now, interesting. (Read article.) The news was that a Singapore-based conservation organization, Animal Concerns Research & Education Society (ACRES), had recently held an anti-shark finning rally at Speaker's Corner, Singapore's only allowed venue for outdoor assemblies and demonstrations.

It was particularly important because of ACRES's attempt to bring the issue directly to the people where the demand for shark fin products emanates. And it's a challenge because of the strong cultural history behind the use of these products.

"One of ACRES's supporters at the rally, physiotherapist Chng Chye Tuan, said he and his wife-to-be had decided against offering shark fin soup to guests at their wedding next month, despite opposition from both sets of parents."

In reviewing the ACRES web site, I was impressed by the many animal issues the organization was taking on - not on an international level, but focused within Singapore. From animal treatment in zoos to protecting exotic or endangered animals like chimps, sharks, and tigers to even the humane treatment of pets, ACRES is trying to impress animal conservation and protection issues directly upon the Singapore people to change behavior and alter demand.

Bravo and best wishes for lasting success.

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