Alleged animal cruelty during pigeon culling operation in Hougang
Town council's culling methods raise concerns
A pigeon-culling operation of the Aljunied-Hougang Town Council (AHTC) has come under the scrutiny of an animal welfare group.
The Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (Acres) posted a video of the operation on Tuesday evening, showing workers near Hougang Mall putting the birds in trash bags.
It said the pigeons were poisoned before being thrown into the bags.
The video, which was prefaced with a warning of distressing content, was sent to Acres by a member of the public who alerted the organisation to the incident.
Some birds could be seen fluttering around before workers grabbed them.
The video also showed another contractor kicking a live pigeon into a dustpan before tossing it into a trash bag.
The New Paper understands that Acres was able to rescue about six of the pigeons after it was alerted to the incident.
While Acres acknowledged in its Facebook post that the issue of pigeon culling is part of an islandwide operation done in many areas in response to pigeon nuisance, the organisation will file an animal cruelty case to investigate the way these birds were handled in Hougang.
The Animal & Veterinary Service told TNP on Wednesday that it received a report from Acres about alleged cruelty to the pigeons during culling operations and is studying the details.
It added that all town councils are issued with pigeon control operation guidelines.
The guidelines state that property management staff have to be present during the operation and that pigeons have to be removed and put to sleep humanely, for example, with the use of carbon dioxide gas.
In response to TNP's queries, a spokesman for AHTC said the town council was aware of the culling exercise.
The spokesman said: "We have received increasing feedback on pigeon nuisance in the area, and hence it is with reluctance we had to resort to culling."
Ms Anbarasi Boopal, deputy chief executive of Acres, told TNP that culling pigeons should not be the main course of action to address the problem of pigeon proliferation.
She said: "The root cause of the overpopulation of pigeons, which is human feeding and food waste management, needs to be addressed.
"A combination of intensive outreach nationwide, strict enforcement on feeding ban and proper food waste management need to be carried out to see a drop in pigeon population."
AHTC reminded residents not to feed pigeons, and said it would continue its efforts to educate the public.