Creating a better world for animals

Many animals are intelligent and feel complex emotions like joy, happiness, depression and distress. Studies show that they have family bonds and feel true compassion for each other. Like us, animals have biological needs and experience pain, stress and discomfort.

Every year billions of them are captured, imprisoned, neglected, abused and slaughtered for human ends. They are used for everything from entertainment and sports to consumer product testing and food.

What animals cannot do is speak up for themselves in the human world. If animals do not have a say in their treatment, then it is up to all caring human beings to give them a voice, speak up on their behalf and end their abuse.

Animal Concerns Research & Education Society (ACRES) is a pioneering Singapore-based charity and Institution of Public Character (IPC) that has been promoting animal welfare since 2001.

Six spheres of ACRES focus

1. Wildlife Trade

A 2009 report named Singapore as one of the top ten illegal wildlife trade hubs globally. Through our 24-hour Wildlife Crime Hotline (9783 7782), undercover investigations, collaborations with Non Govermental Organisations (NGOs), government bodies and the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) industry, and public awareness programmes, ACRES is working hard to wipe out the illegal wildlife trade in Singapore and put a major dent in the global trade.

    Spotlight on… undercover investigations
    Our undercover investigations into the illegal trade in tiger parts (for traditional medicines and jewellery), bear parts (for traditional medicines) and reptiles (for the exotic pet trade) have put the spotlight on the illegal wildlife trade in Singapore and, working together with the authorities, we have brought scores of wildlife criminals to task.
    Our investigations have revealed some shocking facts: In 2001 we discovered that a staggering 73.5% of TCM shops in Singapore were illegally selling bear bile medicines or gall bladders. In 2006 we found that one in five pet shops surveyed were selling prohibited wild animals.
    Our 2009/2010 investigation into the illegal tiger parts trade resulted in the largest ever seizure of alleged tiger parts by the authorities in Singapore. We found 59 shops selling a total of 500 alleged tiger parts.

2. Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation

Every year, scores of animal are rescued from the illegal wildlife trade in Singapore. In 2009, ACRES established the ACRES Wildlife Rescue Centre (AWRC), Singapore’s first dedicated wildlife rescue facility, to provide these animals with a safe sanctuary. Where possible, animals are repatriated to their native country of origin, but if this isn’t possible the AWRC provides permanent sanctuary.

The AWRC also serves as a rescue facility for injured native wild animals, who are released back to the wild once recovered. Responding to calls on the 24-hour ACRES Wildlife Rescue Hotline (9783 7782), we rescue, treat and rehabilitate hundreds of native wild animals every year.

Since August 2009, we have rescued over 1,300 wild animals in Singapore.

3. Zoo Animal Welfare

Throughout Asia, many animals languish in substandard conditions and impoverished environments in some zoos and marine parks, their basic needs neglected. ACRES conducts scientific investigations into the welfare of captive animals in zoos, marine parks and similar establishments and uses the findings to work with the zoos themselves and the wider zoo industry, as well as governments and local NGOs, to improve welfare standards.

    Spotlight on…Save the World’s Saddest Dolphins campaign
    Our latest ‘Save the World’s Saddest Dolphins’ campaign, launched in May 2011, urges Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) to scrap their plans to bring 25 wild-caught dolphins to Singapore to be held captive at their Marine Life Park attraction, and release them back into the wild in the Solomon Islands where they were captured. Between 2008 and 2009, RWS damaged Singapore’s good international reputation by buying 27 wild-caught Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins from the Solomon Islands. In 2010, two of the dolphins died whilst undergoing training. Local and international outrage about the actions of RWS has been growing. Since the launch of the campaign, over 670,000 individuals have joined ACRES in calling for RWS to “please let the dolphins go”.

4. Humane Education: Touching Hearts and Minds

Most animal abuse and exploitation continues because people are unaware of it. We believe that education is the key to ending animal cruelty. ACRES reaches out to all sectors of society through our various Humane Education programmes, from kindergarten children to adults. We work closely with schools and community groups in order to ensure that today’s children grow up with empathy, compassion and respect for all life, and are inspired to change their world for the better.

5. Community Outreach

ACRES strives to inspire and empower everyone, from young to old, from all walks of life, to make play an active role in the animal protection movement, creating a more caring and compassionate society.

Our Community Outreach Programmes are at the heart of all we do and include providing numerous rewarding volunteer opportunities, involving local companies in our work, distributing grants for animal protection projects and organising conferences and forums.

    ACRES strongly believes that engaging the government in matters of animal welfare is vital to move the animal protection movement forward and create a more socially responsible society. 18 June 2011 was an historic day for the animal welfare movement in Singapore when ACRES, in collaboration with Chong Pang Community Club, organised the First-Ever Public Forum on Animal Welfare Policies. The forum welcomed Mr. K Shanmugam, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Law who, along with Louis Ng, Executive Director of ACRES, answered queries and received feedback from over 400 people who attended.

    The open dialogue session provided a platform for discussion on a broad variety of topics, ranging from cat culling to dog catching, puppy mills to veganism, shark’s fin soup to dolphins in captivity.
    The discussions continued long after the forum had finished, with Mr. Shanmugan taking time to talk to the crowd and hear their views. All of the animal welfare groups in Singapore were also on hand to answer queries at their booths.
    All feedback has been officially collated and relayed to the relevant organisations and government agencies. More such forums will be organised in the coming months.

6. Cruelty-Free Living

Many of the everyday products we buy involve enormous animal suffering. Through our Cruelty-Free Living public awareness programmes, consumers are made aware of cruelty-free products they can buy and the simple humane choices they can make in their everyday lives to reduce animal suffering.

Support Us

We believe that talking about problems is not enough, and that we have to take action to make a difference. We have never shied away from tackling challenging animal welfare issues and seeking workable, long-term solutions, always striving to work in partnership with relevant parties and stakeholders.

ACRES depend almost entirely on public support to continue our mission of ending the exploitation and suffering of animals. We need funds to rescue animals, conduct educational programmes and produce educational materials, carry out fieldwork and campaign for a better life for all animals.

In Financial Year 2010-2011, 75.7% of our expenditure went directly to our animal protection programmes. ACRES staff members receive nominal salaries and we keep overheads to a minimum. Click here for the annual report.