Campus on 93.8 Live
This is the programme Louis Ng of ACRES and I took part on a panel discussion at this morning. It was quite interesting and the girls were by and large pretty enthusiastic. The theme was whether Singapore was a gracious society towards animals.
People were talking about different aspects, and animal abuse invariably came up. One student said she felt money should be spent on sterilisations. Another recounted that she saw examples of people being kind to animals. One girl said that perhaps people abused animals because animals had hurt them in some way.
The teacher on the panel mentioned that it was important to look at the motivations behind the abuse. One of the girls piped up towards the end though that she thought that people abused animals in other ways - through buying Lacoste products and hurting alligators. At this point, I was thinking that she was going to make a statement about how all of us are inherently guilty of harming animals in some way through buying products tested on animals, or something of the sort. She then said that she had never been hurt by an animal, but that she was an animal abuser. She said that she had buried a kitten alive, and that it's eyes popped out. Louis was whispering to me that this was a confession on live radio and many of the girls gasped in shock. One girl was covering her face. The girl however, as Louis pointed out, was giggling.
The presenter immediately said she needed help, and when I could comment later, I mentioned the statistics linking animal abuse to abuse against people. I also mentioned that there is a difference between ignorance and perhaps apathy, and outright harming an animal. I mentioned how the RSPCA sends in their officers with the child protection services because often the first sign of abuse escalating are animals being hurt. I added that anyone abusing animals needed help. The presenter also said that statistics have shown that people who abuse animals are five times more likely to abuse other people.
I came back and sent an email to the school. I'm not sure if this story is true (if the cat was buried alive, how did the eyeballs pop out?), but whatever it is, this girl needs help. Either she is so starved for attention that she makes up stories, or she's abusing animals. Both are disturbing - for the girl's sake, and for society's in general.
The presenter wrote back and said she had also called the teacher in charge when she got back and the teacher said this girl is an attention seeker. Now I've known attention seekers (I do remember being in school and some of the things some people would say to get attention, as I'm sure we all do). Most people though would know there is a time and place for fooling around and even making distasteful jokes - and not on live, national radio.