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Updates are on the way, just that eta is uncertain - traffic jam and problems as listed in our last entry, "Buzz-out. Greetings from Cyber Purgatory". *points to first entry*

Thank you for your patience, and interest, and see you there,
29 June 2006

Friday, March 31, 2006

Singapore's Love-Hate Relationship with Trap-Neuter-Release Management

With Singapore authorities' usual pompousity for 'owning' initiatives, TNRM was launched locally as Stray Cat Rehabilitation Scheme (SCRS) in 1998. In 2003, it was inexplicably cancelled during the SARS scare. Inexplicably, because just two weeks prior to terminating it, AVA was still singing its praises! (Ref: Culling of cats: Is it still 'Govt knows best'?) Culling is a danger facing all non-human life in Singapore, therefore all relevant info, regardless of species have been included. This fiasco will not end soon, so please watch this space and if you know of any part of the chronology that's missing in this list, let us know. Here's the chronology of events surrounding this shameful, open secret of Singapore: Background * Stray Cat Sterilisation Project at Bukit Merah View by Lou Ek Hee DVM Head, Animal Welfare Section, CAWC (basis for SCRS) * Leaflet on SCRS from AVA before scheme was prematurely terminated * What has been removed from AVA website The Letters and Articles * You'll find them prowling the the streets and lanes of any urban development. They are the stray cats of Singapore, and they havea job to do, too (20000130) * CULLING OF STRAY CATS (AVA) (20030528) * Culling of cats: Is it still 'Govt knows best'? (20030603) * Cat lovers hold memorial for 700 culled stray cats (20030609) * AVA halts sterilisation scheme for stray cats; control now under Town Councils (2003108) * Empty promise, AVA? (20031014) * AVA stands by decision to stop sterilising cats. It says educating pet owners is the way to go and turns down appeal; SPCA says move is shortsighted (20031017) * Stray-cat scheme needs more time (20031021) * Why stray-cat rehabilitation scheme discontinued (20031029) * Sars pets. Tests show pet cats can catch virus; experts divided over danger to humans (20031030) * Sterilisation long-term solution to cat problem (20031031) * Do we really want a clean, sanitary - and sterile - Singapore? (20031031) * How is cats' death sentence decided? (20031105) * Pulau Ubin fowl to be put down (20040202) * Culling bill last year: $600,000 (20040722) * What would a street cat or dog ask of PM Lee? (20040814) * PM Goh: it was not illegal but it must be done responsibly (20040821) * Cat-management systems work well (20041029) * Tied so tightly strays couldn't breathe (20050215) * Restore rehabilitation scheme for stray cats (20050301) * Rehab scheme in review: But public support vital in plan to spay stray cats and free them (20050310) * Sterilise animals to stop abuse (20050709) * Stray, abandoned dogs get second chance with adoption campaign (20050729) * 13,000 cats put to death each year for just simply being born as cats (20050809) * Feral cats & Singapore animal advocacy (20050818) * Rethink killing of stray dogs, Try out more humane ways.. (20050823) * End mass killing of stray dogsBetter option is to allow keeping of larger pets in HDB flats (20050826) * Culling of dogs a necessary, if heartbreaking, measure: AVA (20050903) * It's a dog's life with Illinois' new law (20050905) * 'Catch-and-kill' animal control policies outdated (20050907) * Foreign cleaning workers are not supposed to trap cats (20051025) * Find other ways to curb crow population (20051104) * Birds Poisoned and Dumped in Rubbish Bins. Town council commissioned culling operations (20051112) * AsiaOne Poll - Should housing estates rethink their anti-cat stance? (20051119) * Anti Cat - Another Whack by Town Councils (20051123) * Castrating male dogs is quick-fix solution. It won't encourage responsible pet ownership (20051201) * Why sterilise pets? It reduces number of strays, more humane than culling (20051202) * Posters at "Social Responsibilities" Carnival - Tampines (20051205) * Campaign to sterilise stray dogs (20051205) * Sterilisation of strays did wonders in New York (20051219) * "Animals are nuisance until proven otherwise" (20051219) * Neighbours from hell. Noise-maker says my wife stalked him I'm his daily tissue disposal service (20060112) * Killed unfairly. Cats get needlessly culled when public complains about irresponsible feeders (20060113) * Culling at Commonwealth Close (20060201) * Feedback on proposed new measures for managing the pet and stray dog populations (20060216) * Tragic Fate of the Stray Cats in S'pore 2003 (20060217) * HELP!! East Coast TC rounding up strays at 403/404 Bedok North Ave 3 (20060221) * How to "Go No Kill": Introduction by Tara Derby-Perrin (20060226) * It is time to bring the owners to task for not removing their pets' faeces (20060301) * Culling at Pasir Ris (20060303) * Cats not the menace: Rules create the problem; Tackle owners, not pets (20060303) * Cats culled because "a woman is frightened of the cats" (20060303) * Take the right action to take proper care of stray animals (20060315) [Ref: Man jailed 3 months for torturing kitten till its eye protruded (ST, 20060307)] * Cat feeder takes proper care of strays without messing up (20060317) * Psst... mr brown, your help's needed. Desperately! (TODAY, 20060406) - Go to: Casefile: Cruel Singapore. Hack-care Singapore (Special recommendation: HDB bans cats - government body chronically misconceived ) - Go to: Pawprints: TNRM c

DawnWatch: Philly Daily News slams puppy mills -- 3/29/06

I don't know if it's polling fever getting to me, but damn if this guy doesn't look like somenoe I wish was contesting here! You know, I can't help but feel that the day we have a politician in Singapore even noticing the non-humans sharing our land, is the day I know I've died and imagined it all while going to where ever we go after life, because it's never going to happen in in reality-Singapore. Hurray for Ed Rendell, Governor of Philadelphia. c

---------------------------- Original Message ---------------------------- Subject: DawnWatch: Philly Daily News slams puppy mills -- 3/29/06 From: "DawnWatch" <> Date: Wed, March 29, 2006 2:45 pm -------------------------------------------------------------------------- Philadelphia is known as the puppy mill capital of the East. Today, Wednesday March 29, the Philadelphia Daily News has come out in support Governor Rendell's attempt to change that. The paper's editorial is headed, "State is Going to the Dogs; Shameful puppy mills have to be shut down." I will paste it below and encourage supportive letters to the editor, to make sure the topic stays alive on the editorial pages. The Philadelphia Daily News takes letters at For more information on the puppy mills, please see Philadelphia Daily News March 29, 2006 Wednesday EDITORIAL OPINION; Pg. 15 STATE IS GOING TO THE DOGS; SHAMEFUL PUPPY MILLS HAVE TO BE SHUT DOWN GOV. RENDELL has taken on possibly one of the most volatile and emotional issues of his tenure: puppy mills. These despicable places, where dogs are bred and raised in unsanitary, crowded and disease-prone conditions, flourish in Pennsylvania, specifically in Lancaster County. Known for lush farms and its Amish population, the county and its more than 240 puppy mills have helped make Pennsylvania "The Puppy Mill Capitol of The East." It's a shameful reputation. Rendell, a dog-lover himself, wants to change that. And we support him. Puppy mills are not pretty places. And innocent families eager to purchase a new cute puppy may not be aware that even dogs bought at commercial pet stores may have been breed at a mill. Often, the evidence doesn't appear until years later: respiratory infections and other sicknesses, genetic defects caused by indiscriminate breeding. A dog may not be able to socialize with humans because it's been cooped up so long. And the breeding dogs, often called "brood bitches," are caged up and forced to breed continually until their usefulness runs out. The state's system, which is supposed to reduce this animal abuse, is seriously broken. Rendell, who researched this subject for several months, last week received informal recommendations on what might be done to fix the system and protect canines. It'll take steps from the Legislature, changes in administrative policy and in regulations. More dog wardens, with greater enforcement power and more responsibilities, are needed. So too are prosecutors whose specific job is to handle these and other related cases. Perhaps even an animal-control version of a SWAT team that can quickly swoop down on mills and take breeders who are violating the law into custody. But these changes won't come easy. Puppies are viewed in some corners as a cash crop. Breeders may see such moves by Rendell as an attack on their way of life. Farm owners may see the crackdown as a harbinger to increased governmental oversight of their chickens or other animals. Some supporters may want to get rid of puppy mills altogether. And pet-store owners are sure to cry foul. Nothing gets the emotions flowing quite like the fate of our pets. Gov. Rendell, with no political gain to be made, appears up to the task. (END OF PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS EDITORIAL) --------------------------- (DawnWatch is an animal advocacy media watch that looks at animal issues in the media and facilitates one-click responses to the relevant media outlets. You can learn more about it, and sign up for alerts at To unsubscribe, go to If you forward or reprint DawnWatch alerts please leave DawnWatch in the title and include this tag line.)

Culling bill last year: $600,000 (TNP, 20040722)

Culling bill went up 20% for 2003. "STRAY cats and dogs cost the Government almost $600,000 last year. The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) and town councils spent $598,944 to catch and cull 7,682 cats and 4,744 dogs. That is about $62,000 more than what was spent in 2002." Noteworthy: "Eight out of 10 Singaporeans we spoke to felt $600,000 was too much to pay for catching and culling strays. More than half of them felt it's important to channel money to animal welfare groups for re-homing or sterilisation." - Go to: Casefile: Cruel Singapore. Hack-care Singapore - Go to: Singapore's Love-Hate Relationship with Trap-Neuter-Release Management c

Please help..kittens to be adopted or else to Spca or thrown to the street! (singaporecats, 20051010)

I can't stand blackmailers, and you can bet one or more will pop up from time to time. Let's get this straight, don't threaten abandonment even if you can no longer care for your cats - abandoment is a crime, and abandonment is cruelty. Don't use SPCA to threaten either, it is neither a kindness nor a wise move, because SPCA puts down 90-95% of all animals they receive. It is reported in the papers EVERY YEAR, and they even have a sign at their entrance stating so! - Go to: Casefile: Cruel Singapore. Hack-care Singapore c

Doberman chasing kitty (singaporecats, 20050923)

Doberman chasing kitty -- what's so strange about it? This is one in many cases that people concerned with cats and dogs in Singapore know or hear of. But the horrifying part is that the doberman's owner doesn't think it wrong to allow his dog to chase, and maybe savage the kitty. It is important to remember that it never the dog's fault - the irresponsible owner is to blame, solely, wholly, entirely. Bastards who let their dogs loose to savage cats should never be allowed to keep another pet. PERIOD. And dogs ARE supposed to be leashed in public, and some, among them the doberman, are to be muzzled. - Go to: Casefile: Cruel Singapore. Hack-care Singapore c

Shadow, Severely Abused Kitten (singaporecats, 20051024)

When Shadow was first discovered in mid oct 05, he had misshapened front paws, a very bad limp and a very odd-shaped flank. At the vet's, the horrible extent of his suffering was revealed: Shadow's injuries were at least 6 weeks old! And he needed surgery asap if the hip-bone protruding into his stomach, the cause of the odd-shaped flank, was to be corrected before it cost him his young life. Shadow's surgery had to be postponed, because he was trembling so badly when the vet first handled him. Now he has been with his metal-plate for 5 months, next month, he will need to undergo another surgery to remove the plate. Unfortunately, nothing could be done for his paws, and so they remained the odd-shaped limbs that he came to Foster Mum with. We can only look at his misshapen paws, and wonder at the pain and suffering he must have endured as a young 3-4 month old kitten. To-date, Shadow is as well as can be, thanks to the TLC of Foster Mum. He was also featured in a letter to the press (Someone broke his paws and fractured his hip), about the serial kitten killer case earlier this month. Funds are needed to build up Shadow'ss medical funds. If you would like to help defray part of Shadow's medical bills, please write to sephycat at gmail dot com, we'll put you in touch with Foster Mum. Latest photo: Shadow sharing the baby-cot with another cat, Kelly - Go to: Casefile: Cruel Singapore. Hack-care Singapore. - Go to: Pawprints: Outsourced Fostercare - Go to SOS: Help us please c

Appeal for help for a paralysed cat, Debbie (singaporecats, 20060116)

Debbie, a young calico community cat, was ran over in a hit-and-run somewhere in Ang Mo Kio, in early Dec 05. Foster Mum, a kind lady who rescues cats in Singapore, took over this sweet girl who was paralysed by the callous driver, who left her writhing in pain. Debbie's injury occured in early December. She is a stray, and was fed and cared for by a group of young girls who do not have large incomes. After her accident, her carers were at a loss about how to care for her... she was brought home and as they worked long hours, she was attended to only twice a day, and was not given medical attention as they could not afford it. After searching for nearly a month - for boarding, fostering, whatever could be offered, they finally found and persuaded Foster Mum to take over Debbie's care. Debbie is a purring machine with the most expressive eyes, as you can see from her pictures, and has loads of fighting spirit, despite her disability and the fact that she now needs her poo and piss expressed everyday and need to be massaged and turned periodically. Foster Mum rejected 3 different vets' recommendations to put her down, and is now looking for donations to get her fitted with her own wheels and to build up reserves for her possible medical needs. Funds are needed for the following: - pay for Debbie's wheels (currently being built by a kind-hearted person locally) - materials to plug the drain gaps in Foster Mum's yard so that Debbie will be able to wheel herself around safely - build up Debbie's medical funds If you would like to help sponsor the wheels Debbie or help defray part of Debbie's medical bills, please write to sephycat at gmail dot com, we'll put you in touch with Foster Mum. - Go to: Casefile: Cruel Singapore. Hack-care Singapore. - Go to: Pawprints: Outsourced Fostercare - Go to SOS: Help us please c

An evening of great sorrow (vegancatsg's blog, 20060120)

vegancatsg wrote about how he and his feline-mojo stealing partner, Carol, witnessed a newly abandoned kitten being ran over by a callous driver, who saw the kitten and then drove off!! The kitten did not survive the night, but he had the good wishes of vegancatsg and Carol to speed him on his way. Rest in peace, poor abandoned kitten. Go to: Casefile: Cruel Singapore. Hack-care Singapore. c

Pawprints: Adoption Guidebook

We LOVE people who adopt, honest, we do, even if we may look like the Interrogator during pre-screening. Not that we're old-hands at this business of finding cats homes, but we've come across a few situations where we find that some prior knowledge to set the expectations on both sides might have helped. So here's some of our opinions and thoughts about the adoption process.

Adoption Guidebook * The ABCs

* Adoption - Cat Lost and Found. A Year-Long episode of anxiety and worry * More on why fosters can't help but seem like drill sergeants * The cat isn't behaving like you described, what gives? * I ABSOLUTELY can't have a 2nd cat - my psychokitty will have a hissy-fit! * One is really not the answer you want , On the other hand, you don't want to be the lord-parent of the species either * So what's your trip about this adoption thing?
Sealed with a kiss. Actually, tons of faith.
* Adoption Fee(s)
Eh wait, since these are stray cats, do I have to pay to adopt?
* Reflectives

The Good, The Bad & The Ugly Guardians we be

* Other footnotes

Adoption agencies

- Meet our homeseekers - Go to Pawprints: TLC for cat minon requisite education. (Note especially Hey, what's that in my food dish??) c

The cat isn't behaving like you described, what gives?

As fosters and guardians of cats looking for homes, we write up short adoption blurbs to post on boards, make posters etc. We're not doing Advertising & Promotion, so we have no intention to do false representation of what the cats are like. In fact, we try to be as truthful as possible - why waste the potential adopter's time? You never know when you'd run into each other again, and we don't fancy having something come back and bite us in the behind. Also, we're not exactly running on time surpluses either. Plus, no point stressing the cat with frequent visits, especially if the visitors are going to go away disappointed. The truth is, most cats, like people, aren't going to be pally with a stranger from the get-go. Not every person is a attention slut or a 'media' darling, and the same goes for cats. So, the best way to know a cat you're thinking of adopting, is to visit the cat a few times and observe him for yourself. At the same time, you can start the bonding process, which will be beneficial to his introduction process when you decide he is DA ONE. But remember this caveat: kitten personalities are works-in-progress, and even with adults, there may be slight changes, sometimes permanent, sometimes temporary, once they're in a different environment. Take this into account, and write us when you're squared with it, and ready to meet our Home Seekers. Read more of the purrsNswipes Adoption Guidebook c

Advice needed for paralyzed cat (SingaporeCats, 20060321)

A community cat was paralysed, twice, out of three attacks by unknown abusers. Fortunately for him, he now has the safety of a home to protect him from further abuse. Kudos to his care-giver for not giving up on him, and her neighbour who is adopting him. (Thread link, SingaporeCats) Let's hope the same cruelty don't befall his brethren. Go to: Casefile: Cruel Singapore. Hack-care Singapore.

I am a Gadget Slut (TODAY, 20060331)

As Gollum would lisp: "We likes innuendo, we doess, precious. SSS." A highly enjoyable piece. c

This story was printed from TODAYonline I am a Gadget Slut As long as they meet my needs, doesn't really matter where they come from Friday • March 31, 2006 AS MOST people will tell you, I love my gadgets and toys. It is so bad that when I tell my wife I am in the vicinity of Sim Lim Square, her immediate response is: "Don't buy anything ah!" But those evil technology companies, they always tempt me with their latest offerings by introducing more and more features (like a new colour). How does a simple man like me resist? One of my overseas readers, "Whitebait", even called me an "A-grade gear slut" and meant it as a compliment. He said because of my shameless posting of photographs of my latest acquisitions on my blog, he can justify spending money on things like "a pure metal, germ-free pop shield with adjustable gooseneck". I pointed this out to my wife, and told her I was helping to provide a valuable service for technology enthusiasts around the world, but she just said: "Don't buy anything ah!" I tell you, it is not my fault. We Singaporeans have all grown up expecting upgrading in all areas of our lives. Better grades, better jobs, better lifts — these are the things that warm the heart of a true Singaporean. So, can anyone blame me for wanting to upgrade my gadgets, too? Perhaps one day, they will build a gadget that will do everything for me. I can imagine a product — let's call it The Zeus Tech 3000 — that becomes my do-it-all (or bao ka liao in Hokkien), device. That way, I need never buy another gadget again, because the Zeus 3000 will always meet my needs. The Zeus Tech 3000 can play music, videos, and make coffee. And those are just the basic features. Once every few years, the Zeus Tech company will announce the newest models, even if the older ones have been doing a good job. This is important for the sake of self-renewal. If it does not offer newer, younger and better models, people might buy another brand. Its 99-per-cent market share did not just materialise overnight and the company knows it cannot just depend on past victories or old track records (who listens to records these days, right?) to keep its existing customers. And when Zeus Tech introduces its latest models — preferably three at a time, so that people don't get confused — it goes all out. Blitz the newspapers, TV and radio with photos and a list of features. And even if the models only come in one colour, white, the company points out that actually, each model is different, yet the same. In the past, the older Zeus Tech series was famous for its uniform quality. The music player of the older Zeus Tech 1000 series, for instance, only had one dial for volume control. But people now want variety and more voices. So the company now offers an equaliser function that can give your music a Rock voice, Classical Voice, or Jazz voice, too. Tech support from the Zeus Tech company is excellent. Nothing is allowed to fail. Repairs are dealt with promptly and swiftly. People really liked that about the company. In fact, they got so used to the efficiency of the tech support that they took it for granted. Nobody cared about the Gadget Wars anymore because, hey, the Zeus Tech series always worked. In fact, the customers felt little love for the product because it was so much a part of their lives, so they stopped giving feedback to the company. But that got Zeus Tech worried. Because if the customers did not feel strongly about the product or technology itself, how could the company make them feel excited about its next line of products? This was also affecting R&D because people just stopped telling Zeus Tech what they wanted from the product — they assumed Zeus Tech would be able to decide for them what features they wanted in upcoming versions. Some did try to give their feedback to the company in the past, but there was a feeling that Zeus Tech was not listening. The 2000 series, for instance, had a few features which some people said were bugs in the system — the music player kept playing only one kind of music — but the dissenting customers were told that those were not bugs, those were features. In fact, the company told them, well, the 2000 model was designed to play the kind of music it thinks is best and healthiest for the customer. So, now, some users are starting to look at the new models from the other smaller brands. Some of these smaller brands have had the same old models, playing the same old songs, though they had their loyal following. But the smarter companies, like Hammer and Circle Systems, started to offer models that were newer and had many similar qualities found in Zeus Tech's series. The users seem quite impressed with the Hammer Systems alternative offerings. Its devices are a little rough around the edges and the tech support is understaffed. But some customers like the company's enthusiasm and willingness to listen, and also the fact that it's the underdog. Occasionally, the smaller tech companies complain that Zeus Tech monopolises all the best parts for its devices, like cornering the market on semiconductors and chips. But this does not stop the smaller firms from trying to find alternative sources of good parts for their models, although it is hard, since Zeus Tech pays good money for its parts. Zeus Tech also has a tendency of enforcing its patents and copyrights aggressively in the courts. Some smaller tech companies even get sued for badmouthing Zeus Tech's products without basis. But in my fantasy technology world, Zeus Tech knows how to play the game and how to adapt to survive. But then, so do the smaller companies, it seems. And perhaps, that is the way how things get better for everyone. Maybe there is no such thing as a gadget that can do it all for me. I don't mind which company I get my gadgets from, as long as the gadgets meet my needs. I just like to see them all trying harder for me. After all, I am an A-grade gear slut. mr brown is the accidental author of a popular website that has been documenting the dysfunctional side of Singapore life since 1997. After writing this column, he went to Sim Lim Square again. Really. Copyright MediaCorp Press Ltd. All rights reserved. ref: Psst... mr brown, your help's needed. Desperately! (TODAY, 20060406)

Vigilante justice, blogger-style (TODAy, 20060329)

Well, I certainly am a convert - that's we've brought our ranting to a new level, organised ranting that is. Let's see more catty blogs! c

This story was printed from TODAYonline Vigilante justice, blogger-style Have computer will condemn – poor car parkers be warned Wednesday • March 29, 2006 Mr Miyagi YOU'RE looking for a parking space at Suntec City and there it is — a red Subaru parked across two lots. Makes your blood boil, doesn't it? Now, you can take a picture of the offending car and send it to Parking Idiots in Singapore (, a blog inspired by the American website, Parking Idiots (, where the tagline reads: "Your parking is our amusement." Not merely for amusement, the Singapore edition of Parking Idiots contains photographs of cars parked illegally or just without consideration for other car park users. And there is apparently no shortage of idiot drivers — at last count, there were 33 photographs posted on the site, and more than 5,000 visitors since the blog was created at the start of the month. The blog's author claims that various requests have been made to up the ante on "parking idiots", and one suggestion has been to create a "parking idiot" label that one can slap on badly parked cars. "Parking Idiot — if you can't park, don't drive! You have been caught on camera. Check to see your photo on the Internet," reads one of the suggested labels. Be afraid! Even marginally bad parking is not let off the hook. Next to one photo of an idiotically (albeit legally) parked car is the comment: "This kind of idiot driver we normally forgive, because he is still within his lot — but just squeezing the next lot enough to make the next driver squirm." Until recently, the cars in the photographs on the blog had their registration plates blurred out, but apparently, after getting legal advice, the blog's author intends to accede to readers' requests that number plates be shown. "I am stepping up the blogsite a notch by henceforth NOT masking the plate numbers of the cars, unless specifically requested by the contributor of the photo," the author declares. If you still wonder whether the community at large has any use for blogs, take a look at bloggers like these who you could say position themselves as "community watchdogs". There's a dirty, clogged drain on Anson Road in front of Tanjong Pagar Plaza. Do you call the National Environment Agency (NEA) to complain or write a letter to the press? Neither — you take a photograph, start a blog and write an entry about it. There's a blog called "Singapore Town Councils" (, which pitches itself as a "community service for all residents of Singapore's Town Councils". Created on March 9, it invites readers to contribute comments or photos, "if you see any incident that you feel needs highlighting (whether a shortcoming of your Town Council or a commendation)". The four entries so far detail places under Town Council jurisdiction which, the blog claims, are not being maintained properly by the local Town Councils and the NEA. Blogger Jeff also tracks letters of complaints to the press on sanitation issues, including responses, if any, from the relevant Government agencies. Jeff — 51-year-old father Jeffrey Ho Loon Poh — has also created Singapore Alert (, where Singaporeans can raise issues or give suggestions on "issues that may threaten the continuing existence of Singapore", such as bird flu, terrorism or the country's water supply. Then there's his Dengue Alert blog (, which at the height of the dengue outbreak last year kept track of potential mosquito breeding areas — with the help of the public — and alerted the authorities. Jeff's blogs may just become useful repositories for complaints made by the community to Government agencies. Of course, there are bloggers who write about community issues, but don't dedicate an entire blog to a particular cause. You do not have to do that to be heard; there are things called blog aggregators, which put similar threads from other blogs into one place. A good place to start looking at Singaporeans writing about community issues is the frequently-updated Singapore Database ( community_currentissues_others.htm). Mr Miyagi has been entertaining readers at for over a year, and believes that Joo Chiat might have been saved sooner if those campaigning for the sleaze to be cleaned up had had a blog.

OK to keep pet shark without a licence? (TODAY, 20060223)

For 5 years, Parc Palais, a private condominium property, has kept a nurse shark (now 2m long), and 2 black reef sharks (1m each), in a tank that's less than 2m wide. What does the AVA say to that? Keep the nurse shark, release the reef sharks! DUH! It's not just sharks that languish in captivity, Singapore also holds dolphins captive - like the sharks of Parc Palais, they too are denied thier right to a life in their natural habit. c

Chronology - TODAY: OK to keep pet shark without a licence? (20060223) - [ACRES News] Please help this POOR Shark! (20060224) - TODAY: Were wildlife laws amended? (20060224) - TODAY: 2 letters: Wild animals aren't pets / Why no action, AVA? Illegal pet purchase? (20060225) - TODAY: Parc Palais condo's sharks are not dangerous: AVA (20060302) - TODAY: AVA says OK to sharks as pets but animal activists concerned (20060302) - [Acres News] Parc Palais Condominium advised to remove sharks (20060302) - TODAY: Laws in murky waters? Odd to move smaller sharks but not bigger one (20060304) - TODAY: Prohibitions should apply to buyers, farms (20060304) - TODAY: AVA's stand on sharks, snakes and wild animals (20060310) - [Acres News] Urgent call for help: Acres asked to leave office (20060310) - TODAY: Clean up the Act, AVA. More clarifications needed to address shark's captive space (20060313) Go to: Casefile: Cruel Singapore. Hack-care Singapore.

Tabbee-boy at Geylang East badly injured (vegancat's blog, 20060325)

vegancatsg spoke of a Tabby, a community cat who was badly injured. Here's the chronology of events: - Tabbee-boy at Geylang East badly injured (20060325) - Tabbee-Boy's fellow community cats on a Sunday morning (20060326) - Tabbee-Boy aka Smokee - Update (20060326) Go to: Casefile: Cruel Singapore. Hack-care Singapore.

Don't have pets unless you can care for them (TNP, 20060329)

IT's amazing how unempathetic Singapore's educators and teachers are to the potential problems of encouraging kids to bring home pets they're not ready to care for, even if they're "just" fish. Don't have pets unless you can care for them (TNP, 20060329) Go to: Casefile: Cruel Singapore. Hack-care Singapore. c

Book anglers who break the rules at reservoir park (ST, 20060330)

(source: SingaporeCats Discussion) "I am concerned with the baits they use. Live goldfish, catfish, chicken liver and bread are some of the baits they throw into our nation's water system. These baits pollute our reservoirs." More ref: - Campaign for the Abolition of Angling - publicity, education, and direct action to ban fishing. - Cruelty of Fishing, The - discusses the pain and stress caused by fishing. - No - get hooked on compassion. - Ocean Planet Perils: Overfishing - includes a list of fish with current depletion status. Go to: Casefile: Cruel Singapore. Hack-care Singapore.

TIME to Go green at the dining table

"Imagine all the trees toppling in succession..." (sing to the tune of the line "Imagine all the people, living in harmony", in Imagine, by John Lennon) Next time you reach for that pair of disposable chopsticks, think thrice, won't ya? c More ref - - - -

This story was printed from TODAYonline TIME to Go green at the dining table Friday • March 31, 2006 Goh Boon Choo WHO would have thought that the humble chopsticks would be in the news? China has announced that from April 1, a tax of 5 per cent will be imposed on wooden chopsticks in a bid to "curb the plundering of timber resources and efforts to protect the environment". Astoundingly, "the production of disposable chopsticks used up 1.3 million cubic metres of timber each year, depleting the country's forests". China apparently throws away 45 billion pairs of disposable chopsticks every year, which requires 25 million full-grown trees. In addition, it also exports chopsticks — 15 billion pairs annually to Japan and South Korea alone. Japan uses between 23 billion and 25 billion pairs of chopsticks yearly. No wonder the forests of the world are being exploited to the point of no return. Singapore has its share of avowed chopstick wielders and, judging by the lunchtime scenes, one wonders how large our contribution is to the depletion of Indonesia's rainforests.One commonly observes, for instance, people requesting for ta pau (takeaways), only to sit down in front of the stall and tuck in. Others are less circumspect, taking disposable eating utensils to eat their food with later on regular plates. Perhaps these people do so for hygiene reasons. But if so, then the onus must surely rest with the stall operator to ensure that the utensils he provides are clean. Then again, some foodstalls offer only disposable eating utensils — perhaps for the convenience factor and to save on the utilities bill. Our eating habits are a symptom of the lackadaisical green movement in Singapore. For example, Housing and Development Board residents are encouraged to leave recyclable items outside their doors for collection every fortnight. But some Singaporeans are not even aware that this is a scheme covering the entire island. Many recycle only newspapers and find it too much of a hassle to separate other recyclable items when discarding things. For example, empty drink cans or plastic containers obviously need to be rinsed if they are to be recycled, considering the two-week collection interval. Also, some of the newspapers meant for recycling end up being "plundered" by the karung guni men instead. But back to the topic of environmental concerns in our eateries: A fast food chain boasts that it is the first food service company to pass the ISO 14001 certification here. The standard focuses on integrating environment protection into a business' operational processes. The standard has not been brandished by other chains or eateries, so that it may be a testament to this particular chain's commitment to care for the environment. Still, I have observed that employees in its outlets continue to throw all manner of customer leftovers — including the drink cans, plastic and paper containers — into the same bins, just like other fast food chains and eateries. One would think that the separation of the recyclables from the trash would be an integral part of being environmentally conscious. In the end, certification becomes like an accessory if the purpose of the certification is only treated as another marketing advantage in a competitive environment. Singaporeans love our fads and fashions. It is certainly "cool" to be seen as environmentally conscious, so we may see more food service companies jumping on the ISO 14001 certification bandwagon. It is up to the discerning customer to judge if he is patronising a truly environmentally conscious eatery. Food is a major part of our expenditure, and Singaporeans love our ta pau dinners. Perhaps it is time the green movement move onto our dining table. And we can start by being more circumspect in asking for takeaways and decline using disposable chopsticks. This is contributed by a reader interested in environmental and animal issues. Copyright MediaCorp Press Ltd. All rights reserved.

Man jailed 3 months for torturing kitten till its eye protruded (ST, 20060307)

This unspeakably cruel man has been allowed to run rampant for TWENTY-SEVEN years! And all he's getting is a 3-month sentence. Apparently, it's backdated to Feb 10, so he' going to out again in May! Write to the authorities and ask why he's getting off lightly, what is being done to ensure he does not relapse or do worse! c Update 25 Apr 06: David Hooi Yin Weng, has been released on 14 Apr 06, almost a month early! And already, the cats in Bedok North St 3 has had at least 2 close shaves. Please speak up for the voiceless cats. WRITE! Chronology Prelude: Articles about this case in LianHeZhaoBao (with english translates) - 1) 包装员被控虐猫*两万元保释候审 , 2) 新加坡一名42岁的包装工人因为虐待小猫,今天被判入狱3个月 Mar 7 - (ST) Man jailed 3 months for torturing kitten till its eye protruded Mar 8 - (Chinese Radio) 本地动物福利团体感谢公众揭发虐猫案件 Translation Mar 10 - (ST) Cat saga shows animal abuse is a serious crime - (ST) Sentence way too light for act of gross cruelty - (ST) Someone broke his paws and fractured his hip - (ST) Three months' jail for kitten abuser is not enough Mar 11 - (ST) Neighbourhood patrol helped send cat killer to jail Mar 12 - (ST) Cat or dog lover - does it matter? Mar 15 / 20 - (TODAY) Reform, don't just punish animal abusers / (ST) Reform animal abusers. Heavier penalties not the solution - (ST) Take the right action to take proper care of stray animals - Unpublished letter: Take the right action to take proper care of stray animals Mar 17 - (ST)Cat feeder takes proper care of strays without messing up Mar 19 - (ST) Ani-maniac: Nip it in the bud, as animal abuse may be a sign of more violent behaviour to come Mar 20 - (ST) Do more to stamp out animal abuse in Singapore - (ST) Time in jail - make the punishment fit the crime - (TODAY) Truth about animals - (TODAY) Catch the human rats Mar 21 - (TODAY) Animal rights vs music copyright? Mar 22 - (TODAY) 2 untitled letters - (TODAY) Animal abuse leads to worse / (ST) Prison authorities can help to counsel animal abusers Mar 23 - (TODAY) Traumatised by animal cruelty – even after 18 years - (ST) Counselling and strong deterrent sentence needed to stop animal abusers Mar 24 - (TODAY) Cat love starts in the cradle: SPCA Mar 25 - (TODAY) Shame on you, animal bullies - (TODAY) Police will tackle abuse seriously Apr 16 - ALERT and SOS: Bedok serial cat killer released! Apr 19 - Filing reports (dawn's blog, 20060419) Apr 21 - Give counselling to animal killers (TNP, 20060421) Apr 25 - Another cat at risk (dawn's blog, 20060425) Write to the authorities and ask why he's getting off lightly, what is being done to ensure he does not relapse or do worse! (Alternate Link on SingaporeCats) Go to: Casefile: Cruel Singapore. Hack-care Singapore.

Is he Vi-Vi's long lost sibling? (Vegancatsg's blog, 20060330)

vegancatsg wrote about a 'new' community cat, Vo-Vo, yesterday. Notably: "915pm, update from Phyllis: she noticed that one of Vo-vo's eyes looked cloudy (like cataract) when she cleaned him this morning. In the afternoon, Vo-vo was seen by Dr Robin Au who administered the first vaccination and deworming tablet. He confirmed that Vo-vo has lost about 80% of his vision in one eye. The cause was trauma in the past." What could cause such trauma?? Car accident or kicks, it's still human-caused, so I'm adding Vo-Vo's plight to the casefile, as a highly likely abuse victim. Go to: Casefile: Cruel Singapore. Hack-care Singapore.

Flying lemur and baby shot down at MacRitchie (ST, 20060322)

Why should it surprise Singaporeans to know poaching exists here? We are no different from other places where abuse and cruelty abound. The deficiency of 'nature' in our lives doesn't mean there's no nature per se. Let's hope nature reserve frequenters will be on the lookout for bastards like these. c

Mar 22: "A FEMALE flying lemur and its baby were shot down by slingshot-wielding miscreants in the MacRitchie Nature Reserve on Sunday, in an incident that has shocked nature lovers here. While the baby was found unharmed by park rangers, the mother was seriously injured and had to be put to sleep later, a spokesman for the National Parks Board (NParks) said last night. " (Article Link) Mar 30: "'The poor baby colugo has given up on life - maybe she missed her mommy,' wrote nature lover Khew Sin Khoon. 'This morning the vet put her to sleep.' " (Article Link) More pictures of Mother and baby (Alternate Link on SingaporeCats)
Go to: Casefile: Cruel Singapore. Hack-care Singapore.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Pawprints: TLC

TLC? Well yeah, you didn't think you just bring the kitty home, and the sum of your relationship/responsiblity is just to provide grub and water, shove litter, did you? btmao and I've learnt a fair bit during these 8 years of servitude - that doesn't make us experts of course, but we'd like to share and learn somemore too. And it's surprising how some of the simplest things need to be told - we've had that plenty of times, and since we're rather average cat minions, we're sure our brethren has, like us, gotten surprises over some of the most basic things before too. We don't know about you, but some of the impact has gotten us thinking about crash-test-dummying as a side career. Anyway, here's a list of our rants and raves on Tender Loving Care for them-who-lords-it-over-us.

TLC * I'm a new cat parent, and I'm clueless, HELP! (note: actually, even if you're not new, some of the info may still prove useful. We never stop learning after all.) * FOOD


* Stop at ... erm, how many did you say?



* Health Problems we've heard of, come across


Brain-Food, for you, the servitor * Caterati * DNA Offers New Insight Concerning Cat Evolution * Trivia: Trivia Information 'bout Cats * Cat-ffervescence: Sneezes of Laughter (don't let them know you laugh at them, or just tell them you're laughing with them)

Abject servitor, c

Hey, what's that in my food dish??

OY! Do you know what you're feeding your resident ingrates? Not, I don't mean what brand, or formula. Really, what's inside that can or pack of biscuits, do you know? Check out this new article: What is Fido really eating? (Alt Link) . And check this out: What’s Really in Pet Food What scary thoughts, and BY-Products isn't the only problem! Hey, I know we are all busy and do not have much time to read up or research. But please educate yourself - you have home cats or feed the homeless ones because you care for them, so why feed them something that may harm them? A good rule of thumb - would you eat the same thing every meal if you knew it may cause you to develop Urinary Tract Infection... or worse? Another one - would you eat only salted potato chips for every meal? (And if you answer yes to either, I know you're a fastfood chain spy or a Fritto Lay's lackey!) Understandly, some of us may find the prices of "premium food" unaffordable. But consider: Cheaper Brands are False Economy Many first-time cat owners, in an attempt to hold down expenses, buy the cheapest foods they can find for their cats. This is false economy for a couple of reasons. First, studies have shown that cats eat as much as they need to get the nutrients they require. Therefore, they might eat twice as much of that generously-carbohydrate-filled store brand to get the nutrients they need in a normal feeding of premium food. Second, the continued feeding of substandard foods over a period of years will heavily contribute to, or even cause, serious medical conditions that will require expensive veterinary care. For these reasons, the old maxim, "You get what you pay for," is particularly true where it comes to cat food. (Source: Tips for choosing cat food - learning the basics about cat food labels) Please take the time to look at the ingredients list of the food you're feeding your cats. It's usually on the back of your dry food package, near the bottom. If the label of your pet food has the following, please consider changing immediately! * Words such as "By-products," "meat and/or bone meal," "animal digest," most other descriptions including "digest" or "meal," and added sugars. * Chemical preservatives, including BHA, BHT, ethoxyquin, and propyl gallate * Corn meal as a filler * Excess of carbohydrate "fillers" (Dry food can contain as much as 50 percent grain) Also, look for * Compliance with AAFCO's requirements for "Complete and Balanced," as evidenced by that wording on the label. * Named protein source - look for "chicken, lamb, or beef," rather than "meat." * On canned food particularly, the protein source should be the first listed ingredient * Check the expiration date for freshness (Source: Tips for choosing cat food - learning the basics about cat food labels) Also, educate yourself on the basics of cat nutrition (Ref: FEEDING YOUR CAT: KNOW THE BASICS OF FELINE NUTRITION) Demoralising, isn't it, to know that all those proclaimations of "We care for your pets!", "Your pet's health is important to us", etc etc are just so much insincere marketing ploys, in most cases. But do not despair! There ARE alternatives other than Friskies, Whiskas, (many UTI victims have a history of being on these two brands!) and popular brands that use by-products and fillers that cause your cat to get indigestion, shed fur prodigiously, among other problems. For a start, here's a list of brands that have either by-products, fillers, harmful artificial preservatives/flavourings or combinations: Alpo, Fancy Feast, Friskies, Mighty Dog, and Ralston Purina products such as Dog Chow, ProPlan, and Purina One, 9 Lives, Amore, Gravy Train, Kibbles-n-Bits, Nature's Recipe, Hill's Science Diet Pet Food, Eukanuba and Iams, Kal Kan, Mealtime, Pedigree, Sheba, Waltham's, Star-pro, Royal Canin. If you're using any of the above brands, please consider these alternatives or if you find other alternatives, feel free to add on to the list below! ( NOTE: Both lists are not exhaustive - it is really important that you check the ingredients list of your current cat food, and any new ones you're considering as well - your supplier's sales pitch/vet's recommendation notwithstanding) ALTERNATIVE BRANDS Basic/economical formulas Back To Basics Cat Food Felidae: Look for the "Felidae For Cats" link on the top navigation bar on this link. Click on the respective formula to see details (NOTE: Felidae may not be a popular choice with your cats due to high lamb content) Mid-range formulas Avo-Derm High-end formulas Pinnacle Premium formulas Natural Balance (Not to be confused with Nature's Balance!) Innova Click on the "Choose a Product" drop-down list to see the details for the different formulas These alternative brands I listed in post 1 are the ones I've personally looked at. Out of these, I've fed my cats with Avoderm, Pinnacle, and Natural Balance. All of them are tons better over Science Diet, Nutro, Royal Canin, Precept, which we've also tried. But NB, by far is the best. I can vouch for my opinions on these brands as we feed both outdoor cats and home cats the same food. Our oldest cats are 8 years old, and one of them is fussy as in his system is sensitive and the results are quite obvious. So, if anything's not good or vice versa, it's pretty obvious since we get to observe both sets of cats on the same nutrition baseline. Improvements are obvious even though the outdoor cats obviously do get fed other stuff by other people. As an aside, we're extremely happy with NB as it is the only pet food maker listed on PETA's cruelty-free list that is BOTH by-product and filler-free. Other brands are only by-product free. So it is a happy happenstance that our cats all love NB too. This is a personally important consideration due to concerns about animal testing in the pet food industry - that is, cats and dogs are tested on, vivisected etc, in the name of nutrition research. We can never reconcile ourselves with supporting brands that make other cats and dogs suffer. IAMS and EUKANUBA are the worst! Check out these sites: , , , Here's another one on animal testing in pet foods: (NOTE: Proctor and Gamble is a known advocate of needless animal testing , ,, and also owns familiar toiletries brands like Colgate and Palmolive. Science Diet is a Colgate company, IAMS and Eukanuba are sister companies and belong to P&G... much food for thought!) I do not have experience with dogs, but I reckon these alternative brands should also make good dog foods. For more ref on dog nutrition, try the about cats' sister site, about dogs for a start. Here's the dog nutrition link on the site: Diet & Nutrition Back to cat food. The popular brands I listed as doubtful food for your cats are based on checks on their ingredients list and personal experience. For more info, again the about cats's references on nutrition is a good start: Cat Food & Nutrition. There are also reviews of cat food, but there's no index link or page, so just look out for the recommended reading, related links at the bottom of any of the nutrition article pages opened. I just wanted to add that there is only one difference in the diet of our homecats from the outdoor ones. Our homecats used to be on pure dryfood - they never fancied wetfood somehow. For the ones outside, we feed a mix of NB dry and Snappy Tom wet. Snappy Tom is Australian, and it has the AAFCO statement like most other brands, unlike the other brand, Yi Hu, which is Thai-made. Recently, we've also began feeding our homecats NB wet food - this is because one of our 8-yr olds developed acute renal failure, and doesn't like the vet prescribed SD k/d (unfortunately, SD is the only one of two brands that have 'special' diets ). In any case, we then tried boiling fish/chicken but all them refused to eat! So back to the drawing board. So we looked online and found info that recommended NB wet food-venison and pea formula as a viable alternative to the k/d. (Info and links here: Chronic Renal Failure (CRF) - aka Kidney problems) Now all our homecats are lapping wetfood dinners up. Mornings are still dry food breakfast. c (PS... we also bought a cat fountain for the home brood to encourage them to drink and ensure the water is fresh: Hey, can we have a refill here) Go to Pawprints: TLC for other cat minon requisite education

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Turkey Research Centre Torturing Horses since 1968. Please HELP THEM

This is unspeakably horrendous! Please visit this link and see for yourself: dear friends, here is the sad story of horses in ANKARA. We have watched on TV show “Dechipher” (Desifre in Turkish), broadcasted on Star TV, the torturing of horses used as test animals in the Refik Saydam Hygiene Center (Refik Saydam Hifzisihha Enstitusu in Turkish). The images showed, 6 kilos of blood being drawn from the horses, without using anesthetics, the horses being dragged on the ground pressed on the necks, making the animal cry and moan, and the torture continued for hours. What is more terrifying is, we have learned that this cruelty has been going on since 1968. The photos of this cruelty are attached. PLEASE HELP US IN OUR FIGHT FOR THE PROTECTION OF TURKEY'S ANIMALS!!!! Here are the letters for you to send, please send each of them, PLEASE!!! For more information, contact us: LETTER 1 / LETTER 2 / LETTER 3

Check for more causes needing your action here.

Introducing a new kit into the bloc: How To Avoid the "Wham! Bam! Hissy-Fits" Syndrome

Getting a cat to settle down into your home isn't an exact science. There's a few things to consider, and these are mainly based on whether you're getting another cat or just starting out with your first kitty. Some good pieces of advice: - How to Introduce Your New Cat to the Rest of the Tribe "Slowly" and "Patiently" are the operative words - Tips For Introducing A New Cat To Your Cat(s) - LIVING TOGETHER - INTRODUCING A NEW CAT (very good in-depth look at the Dos and Dont's) - More Practical Tips and Considerations: Welcoming A Cat Into Your Home, Making Room for A New Cat Remember though, that you'll need to work with your cat(s), and consider their comfort level and tolerance threshold. For example, aTm, a cat rescued by vegancatsg, was adopted 3 times before he found his permanent home, and that was because his real family gave him the allowance to settle down on his schedule and terms. In any case, please also think about you situation and consider: How Many Cats is Too Many? c Go to Pawprints: TLC for other cat minon requisite education

Rose Garden on Evans Road (Dawn's Blog, 20060313)

There is no excuse for shirking your duty towards the cats you claim you love. This 'person' in the case is, frankly, horrible and incorrigible! Remember Rose Garden on Evans Road, my friends, and BOYCOTT it! Go to: Casefile: Cruel Singapore. Hack-care Singapore. c

Were those kittens dumped on the road? (ST 20060327)

How cruel the road users of Singapore! The question is not who dumped them, I don't think. Rather it is, did anyone stop to help them, especially the one who was "still alive but its hind legs had been crushed. It was crawling frantically on its front legs to avoid the oncoming cars." (Ref: Were those kittens dumped on the road? on SingaporeCats) Go to: Casefile: Cruel Singapore. Hack-care Singapore.

Arctic Fabulous: Speculative Fiction and the Imaginary Arctic

Arctic Fabulous: Speculative Fiction and the Imaginary Arctic - by Siobhan Carroll (source site) Ooh, don't you just love how humans come up with explanations for what is now some of the most blasé of things? I'm of two minds about it. Obviously, our overactive imagination enriched culture and literature, and even spurred some of the most fascinating inventions, like the concept of flight, for instance. But then, hey, we're also good at scaring the hell out of each other and invoking the wrath of god to keep dissenters in place. I think if Woodbridge could manage it, it could earn big bucks just carouselling every single human bean in and out of its bed and couches! Why let the business go elsewhere, we're supposed to a medical hub right? Woot - I think i've scored one "Arctic Fabulous" worthy madness. c

Scratching Below the Surface- Cat Scratching as Communication

Ok, fellow cat minions, no excuse for dismissing them itching furballs - better start getting familiar with morse-scratch. Quick, what's 1 long scratch on fabric mean?? I hate to think that apart from meows, I have to add Scratches - decoding claw charades, to my classes. c PS how's your meow-accent coming along, eh? I just can't twist that "arw" in that "meow" if you agree bit.

Scratching Below the Surface- Cat Scratching as Communication Guest Writers' Forum Article by C.H.U. (Clyde's Human Unit, Webmaster of ClydeSight2.0!) C.H.U. has spent a lifetime in the company of cats. C.H.U. became Clyde's Human Unit when Clyde Big Paws, the tabby cat, came to live in 1990. Clyde crossed the Rainbow Bridge in 1997. C.H.U. has been the Web master and a member of the board of the Melrose Humane Society since 1998 as part of the Legacy of Clyde. C.H.U. holds a Master's degree in Communication from Emerson College in Massachusetts and has taught continuing education courses in the use of computers and computers for communication. C.H.U. is currently being trained by the Melrose Humane Society and Gertrude and Eddie Cats in the art of cat-human communicatioin techniques. The Sound You HATE to Hear You're sitting at your computer when you hear a sound all cat owners DREAD, the tearing of claws on fabric! You rush into the next room and grab the squirt bottle or can o' coins. Your cat takes off for under the bed. You return to your computer muttering. Did you notice the cat toy in the center of the room, right where the cat was sitting before you charged in? Maybe, your cat was trying to tell you something! --> MORE (source: About Cats)

Cruisin for a Bruisin: Cruiseships kill the oceans

Never found the thought of a "cruise to nowhere" appealing, but to each his own, yeah? It's just that I think I understand how the Norse would feel in their rimmed by endless sea world - so what if you sailed to the edge of the world? You'd have to sail back to port anyway, and where's the point in that? Anyway, if that's not quesy to you, here's something people concerned with eco-tourism need to start fretting about: bigger cruiseships causing some trouble And, here's a separate, sit-up-and-take-notice quote: Cruise Lines Cruise ships can produce 30,000 gallons of sewage and 19 tons of garbage a day, most of which is dumped into the ocean, often in brazen defiance of federal laws. Add to that diesel exhaust equal to 12,240 cars, and you’ve got what the Bluewater Network calls “an emerging crisis.” ..

Reuters: Humans spur worst extinctions since dinosaurs

Do "we" put the STINK in extinction or what? And just when we learn that life might have spurred the Earth's geological evolution too. What do you wager will humans caused the Earth to evolve? Actually, it already has a counter-strike: Natural Disaster. Yeah, I know. Natural disasters have been part of how the Earth changes and evolves the climate and surface. It's nothing new. But the big question is, have we caused them to be more violent, more frequent, more devastating? I think we already have an inkling that humans are messing up big time, witness Boxing Day 2004, Hurricane Katrina 2005, Bam 2003. And remember Global Warming? Greenhouse Effect? How about the new catchphrase: "Global Dimming"? Eh? Did someone just whipser something about "hot" and "hell"? Just so you know, I HATE warm weather. c

Humans spur worst extinctions since dinosaurs 20 Mar 2006 17:15:52 GMT Source: Reuters Background: TIPSHEET: Aid experts debunk post-disaster myths MORE (Adds details of past extinctions paragraph 4) By Alister Doyle, Environment Correspondent OSLO, March 20 (Reuters) - Humans are responsible for the worst spate of extinctions since the dinosaurs and must make unprecedented extra efforts to reach a goal of slowing losses by 2010, a U.N. report said on Monday. Habitats ranging from coral reefs to tropical rainforests face mounting threats, the Secretariat of the U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity said in the report, issued at the start of a March 20-31 U.N. meeting in Curitiba, Brazil. "In effect, we are currently responsible for the sixth major extinction event in the history of earth, and the greatest since the dinosaurs disappeared, 65 million years ago," said the 92-page Global Biodiversity Outlook 2 report. Apart from the disappearance of the dinosaurs, the other "Big Five" extinctions were about 205, 250, 375 and 440 million years ago. Scientists suspect that asteroid strikes, volcanic eruptions or sudden climate shifts may explain the five. A rising human population of 6.5 billion was undermining the environment for animals and plants via pollution, expanding cities, deforestation, introduction of "alien species" and global warming, it said. It estimated the current pace of extinctions was 1,000 times faster than historical rates, jeopardising a global goal set at a 2002 U.N. summit in Johannesburg "to achieve, by 2010, a significant reduction in the current rate of biodiversity loss". "Unprecedented additional efforts' will be needed to achieve the 2010 biodiversity target at national, regional and global levels," it said. The report was bleaker than a first U.N. review of the diversity of life issued in 2001. NOT ABATING According to a "Red List" compiled by the World Conservation Union, 844 animals and plants are known to have gone extinct in the last 500 years, ranging from the dodo to the Golden Toad in Costa Rica. It says the figures are probably a big underestimate. "The direct causes of biodiversity loss -- habitat change, over-exploitation, the introduction of invasive alien species, nutrient loading and climate change -- show no sign of abating," the report said. Despite the threats, it said the 2010 goal was "by no means an impossible one". It urged better efforts to safeguard habitats ranging from deserts to jungles and better management of resources from fresh water to timber. About 12 percent of the earth's land surface is in protected areas, against just 0.6 percent of the oceans. It also recommended more work to curb pollution and to rein in industrial emissions of gases released by burning fossil fuels and widely blamed for global warming. The report said, for instance, that the annual net loss of forests was 7.3 million hectares (18 million acres) -- an area the size of Panama or Ireland -- from 2000-2005. Still, the figure was slightly less than 8.9 million hectares a year from 1990-2000. And it said that annual environmental losses from introduced pests in the United States, Australia, Britain, South Africa, India and Brazil had been estimated at more than $100 billion. About 300 "invasive species" -- molluscs, crustaceans and fish -- have been introduced to the Mediterranean from the Red Sea since the late 19th century when the Suez Canal opened. It gave mixed overall marks for progress on four key goals. It said there was "reasonable progress" towards global cooperation but "limited" advances in ensuring enough cash and research. It estimated that annual aid to help slow biodiversity losses sank to $750 million from $1 billion since 1998. And it said there was "far from sufficient" progress in better planning and implementation of biodiversity decisions and a "mixed" record in better understanding of biodiversity. AlertNet news is provided by Reuters

Forget the chicken and the egg, how about "LIFE or CONTINENT"?

What a fascinating view about life, evolution and the EARTH. As I-forgot-his-name said in Jurassic Park: "Life will find a way". Hmmm, or was it "Life will not be denied"? Whatever.

And life created continents... 24 March 2006 Exclusive from New Scientist Print Edition Myles McLeod LIFE on Earth may have driven the evolution of the planet itself. The idea is that ancient microbes provided the chemical energy to create the Earth's continents - a nod to the Gaia hypothesis, in which life helps create the conditions it needs to survive. The theory would solve the puzzle of why the Earth's continental crust appeared when it did, and explain the presence of granite, a substance not found anywhere else in our solar system. The Earth formed 4.6 billion years ago, coalescing as a homogeneous mass that in time separated into the discrete layers we know today: the core, mantle and crust, plus oceans and atmosphere. However, during the first 600 to 800 million years of Earth's existence there were no stable continents. The oldest vestiges of continental crust, which date from the Archaean aeon about 4 billion years ago, are in Acasta in north-west Canada. These rocks are made from granite or a similar material, which is unique to Earth. It is created when basalt rock melts and reforms, becoming enriched in silica, aluminium and certain metals as it reacts with compounds in water. Granitic rocks are less dense than basalt, so they rise to the surface, forming a stable continental crust. The ingredients for granite were there before the Acasta rocks, yet in all that time it didn't form. Now a team of geologists led by Minik Rosing of the Geological Museum and the Nordic Center for Earth Evolution at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, says the appearance of photosynthetic life might have given this process the kick-start it needed. Rosing's team was struck by how the appearance of the continental crust coincided with the rise of photosynthesis. The fossil record for the time is patchy at best, because microbes are small and fragile, but there is some geological evidence that photosynthesis might have arisen 3.8 billion years ago. Today, photosynthetic organisms, which convert solar energy into usable chemical energy, contribute three times as much energy to the Earth's overall geochemical energy cycle as geological activity driven by the Earth's interior. The first photosynthetic life forms would have made solar energy available for chemical changes, cranking up the Earth's energy cycle and altering its geochemistry, Rosing's team believes (Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, vol 232, p 99). "The energy capture from photosynthesis is used to keep oceans and atmosphere out of chemical equilibrium with the rock," says Rosing. This tension enhances weathering cycles, causing more chemical breakdown in the crust compared with physical processes or the limited impact of more obscure organisms, such as microbes that thrive around thermal vents. Such breakdown of basalt produces smectite and illite clays, which in turn play a role in the creation of granite. "The key point is that melting of basalt makes basalt again, while the melting of weathered basalt produces a small amount of granite," says Rosing. "Life might, in the end, be responsible for the presence of continents on Earth." Other geologists agree that this is a novel and imaginative idea. But, they say, the evidence is still weak. For instance, the apparent rarity of granite may be due to other factors, says Martin Line of the University of Tasmania, Australia, such as the size of the Earth, the relative abundance of water on the Earth's surface, or simply because we have only sampled a few rocks on other solar bodies, such as the moon or other planets. From issue 2544 of New Scientist magazine, 24 March 2006, page 12 Methane bugs warmed the young planet Climate-changing microbes that produced methane may have been around 700 million years earlier than thought. These "methanogens" could have helped regulate the climate, providing greenhouse gases and staving off freezing conditions that would have stifled the development of life on Earth. Until now, no direct geological evidence for methanogens has been found in the Archaean aeon, stretching from Earth's formation until about 2.5 billion years ago, although there is circumstantial evidence they may have existed 2.8 billion years ago. Methane comes from three principal sources: the thermal decomposition of organic material, non-biological reactions of simple inorganic compounds and metabolic activity of methanogenic microbes. In each case, the resulting methane contains distinctive levels of the isotope carbon-13. Now a team led by geologist Yuichiro Ueno of Tokyo Institute of Technology, Japan, has found the depleted carbon-13 signature of methanogens in rocks 3.46 billion years old (Nature, vol 440, p 516). The researchers examined veins of quartz and hydrothermal dykes, which are vertical intrusions of precipitates from hydrothermal water, in the Pilbara craton in Western Australia. Cratons are chunks of continental crust that represent the last vestiges of Archaean continents that still exist relatively undisturbed by geological processes. "This study supports conjectures that methanogenesis was one, if not the, primordial form of metabolism powering the earliest organisms on Earth, and lends further credence to the idea that methane was an important greenhouse gas at a time when the sun was much less bright than at present," says Roger Buick of the University of Washington in Seattle, a specialist in the origin and earliest evolution of life. (source: Sign up for FREE newsletter here.)