UP cats saved, for now
A memorandum from the University of the Philippines Diliman administration ordering the rounding up of stray animals in the campus has been scrapped, following some backlash from animal welfare groups.
Last July 15, University of the Philippines Diliman chancellor Michael Tan issued a memorandum suspending the July 6 memo from the office of the vice-chancellor for community affairs, which ordered the stray animal roundup.
“I am suspending the order because of recent meetings with the College of Veterinary Medicine and with Friends of Campus Animals (FOCA). In the two meetings I had, the consensus is that we need a scientific approach dealing with animals on campus. The rounding up and extermination of the animals will not solve our problems. I am worried that done improperly, this further puts people at risk for bites because the animals become hostile and defensive,” Tan said, in his memo.
Tan urged a multi-sectoral coordination on short and long-term solutions, including an animal census on the campus, education on responsible pet ownership, and the implementation of effective vaccination and neutering programs.
Tan said an expanded Animal Welfare Committee would be instituted to “scientifically” deal with the animal control issues in the campus.
Following Tan’s memorandum, the FOCA, a group of concerned faculty, students, alumni, and staff of the UP Diliman campus, launched an online petition on Change.Org asking UP Diliman officials to enact policies and programs for the welfare of the campus animals.
“As the nation’s premier university, UP must instill a strong sense of compassion and respect among its students, faculty and staff toward the voiceless sectors of society, including animals,” the petition read.
“Everywhere, people are recognizing the relaxing and healing effects of animals on individuals working and living in stressful environments. In the different colleges and units in UP Diliman, students can be seen stroking cats while conducting study groups in the corridors or college grounds,” the petition said.
FOCA pointed out that since 2012, the Compassion and Responsibility for Animals (CARA) Welfare Philippines has been offering the implementation of a trap-neuter-release program for stray animals in UP.
As of Sunday, the petition has garnered 762 supporters.
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