By Wong Siew Ying/Li Siew Li
17 Jun 05
SINGAPORE : It is now against the law to rear poultry on Pulau Ubin, but some chickens were still found running free in a few backyards on Friday.
Officers from the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority rounded up six chickens and a chick during a visit to the island. They are now trying to get in touch with owner Lim Seng Kwu, to make payment for the poultry. Another resident, Choo Chee Heng, sold the last two of his feathered friends, which had run away previously.
Said Mr Choo, "If we continue to rear them, we could be fined S$10,000 or jailed for two years." So will they have to pay the price for missing the deadline?
Said Goh Shih Yong, assistant director of corporate communications at AVA, "No. They have all the while been so helpful in helping us to round up the chickens so we should not penalise them for it. AVA will come off and on again and work together with the residents to capture these stray chickens."
With the chickens gone, many licensed farmers are planning to move on. Five out of nine farmers want to be resettled while the rest have till July 4 to decide.
Nature lovers say the absence of live poultry will not ruin the flavour of Pulau Ubin. "We come here to look at the environment, enjoy nature. It's more than the poultry," said one visitor. "When you go close to nature, without the chickens or ducks, there are many other things that surround you," another said.
Some of the restaurants on the island used to serve ‘kampong’ chicken dishes. With the ban in place, they will now have to buy chickens from the Singapore mainland. Restaurant owners say this has caused some inconvenience, but thankfully, no significant increase in cost.
All poultry sheds on the island will be demolished by August 15. An ostrich and two peacocks are also expected to be transported to the bird park in 10 days.