Unpublished letter 2:
Simplest and Most Humane Solution for Pigeon Problem
I refer to the letter 'Town council right in culling pigeons' (Mar 14), which stated that it was right to poison pigeons which dirtied HDB blocks. However, since pigeons naturally flock to where humans leave food, it is obvious that the cause of the problem lies with inconsiderate human action. Culling is thus not the long term solution if such feeding continues.
In reference to the letter 'Dad hospitalised because of birds' (Mar 14), which stated that the writer's father was ill due to a neighbor's breeding of mynahs above his flat unit in a rusty air-conditioner unit, we need to remember that it was supposed to be a reply to another letter on the pigeon problem, not about other birds that are deliberately bred; but about pigeons left in whatever little wild that remains in Singapore due to rapid urbanisation. Let us not drive them to extinction by careless calls for culling. Also referring to the letter 'Explore more humane ways to control bird population' (Mar 14), the title is ironical as one of the suggestions, of using artificial nesting boxes to collect and destroy fertilised eggs, is also cruel - as this still involves killing.
Finally, with reference to the letter 'Employ more humane culling methods' (Mar 15), which stated that 'It is better to take precautions [by killing pigeons] than do nothing but wait helplessly as disease [due to them] becomes rampant', this suggestion is unnerving indeed - because if an animal species needs to be culled en masse simply as a 'precautionary' measure, I suspect there will soon be very few animals left in our world. Surely, with the need to nurture more kindness in our world, we do not wish to 'educate' the young with our harsh examples, to see killing as the most 'efficient solution' to all similar problems.
So much said, there is a simple and humane solution to the pigeon problem. What we need is the relevant animal welfare authorities to work with Town Councils to provide more prominent signages that advise against the feeding of wild birds, and to assign personnel at reported hotspots to catch and fine feeders in the act. Educational advertisements and reports in the papers on the issue would prove helpful too. Let us live and let live best we can. It would be a great shame if Singapore, which is renown for its greenery, becomes equally known for its cruelty towards hapless animals.