Singapore Culls Chickens, Draws Criticism from Economist

The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) recently disclosed the culling of 24 chickens at Sin Ming road.

AVA cited several complaints from residents regarding noise as the primary reason for the culling while adding that the free-roaming chickens may spread bird flu.

The move drew criticism from economist Donald Low, who noted that only the minority was considered in the decision.

“In any society, there is always a small percentage of people who have an irrational dislike or fear of animals,” Low explained. “Pandering to the few, while ignoring the preferences of those who are tolerant of animals, is policy-making driven by the complaints of a few. This is the definition of capture.”

Low is also cold AVA’s other reason for culling, saying that the chickens should have been examined first if they are carrying bird flu virus.

“In land-scarce Singapore, it is terribly important that Singaporeans learn to live with the inconveniences that are sometimes caused by nature and the (shrinking population of) animals in their midst. Unless these are pests that pose a real harm to public health, mass culling is an extremely myopic response,” Low said.

He argued that the act of culling chickens in direct response to complaints from a small minority is a clear representation of populism in action as AVA gave in to irrational concerns (such as noise and bird flu) while denying scientific proof to the contrary.

“The road to populism starts with ignorance and inertia on the part of citizens. We should ask to see much stronger evidence of the real harms caused by stray chickens in our island before we acquiesce to AVA’s mass culling.”

 

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