Yap Him Hoo, the director-general of the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) wrote an explainer in Today on the decision to put down 24 free-roaming chickens in Singapore.
In it, he detailed the reason for culling wild chickens.
Here are some snippets from his statement.
“The risk of free-roaming chickens in Singapore being exposed to bird flu is real and significant, as we are a stopover node for migratory wild birds.
This means that chickens on our island can catch the disease through direct contact with wild birds or even through their droppings.”
He also referred to Denmark as a country that suffered from the infections of their free-roaming chickens, which is why we need to keep our chicken population in check.
Sounds like a perfectly reasonable stance to take.
So, what about the noise?
He went on to discount the primary concern of most netizens, which was that the chickens were culled due to complaints by 20 residents over noise issues.
“But that is not the case. Our concern is not about noise but about public health and safety.”
He also commented that the complaints just served to highlight the high concentration of chickens in a certain area.
“The noise issues only serve to bring attention to the relatively high numbers of free-roaming chickens in certain areas, which in turn raise the risk of exposure to bird flu in these localities.”
In that statement he clearly distinguished that noise was only used as a tool of identification, and that it did not play a part in the culling decision.
So, how did the public get the idea that complaints about noise was a reason for the culling of chickens.
Yap had an answer for that as well.
“Various media reports may have given the impression that the AVA is taking action solely because of complaints about noise.”
Stupid media! #fakenews
He certainly has a point, look at this screenshot of a video by The Straits Times.
The issue of noise is clearly highlighted, as well as the pressing issue of illegal immigrant chickens.
Even this site picked up on the noise issue.
So how did this untruth even spread in the first place?
Well, we finally found the source of this cacophony of misleading headlines.
The quote first appeared in an ST article on Feb. 2:
“To address these, AVA works with NParks to conduct surveillance and control operations to safeguard public health and mitigate nuisance issues…”
This quote seems to imply that in addition to safeguarding public health, issues of noise, presumably because of the 20 complaints, was a reason for the culling.
So who was responsible for insinuating that nuisance issues were a reason for culling the chickens?
It was AVA group director of the animal management group, Jessica Kwok.
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