Written by Wang Fangqing Wednesday, January 11 2012Snapshot: Second Chance Animal Aid (SCAA)
Second Chance Animal Aid (SCAA) is a non-profit organization based in Shanghai that works with schools and businesses to educate about the necessity for the humane treatment of animals. SCAA also hosts animal adoption events, and since its launch in 2005, SCAA has found homes for 747 rescued animals.
With the rising disposable income, more and more Chinese in urban areas are becoming pet-owners. However, reports of animal cruelty and abandonment have also been increasing. China has long been criticized by international animal rights groups for the lack of animal protection laws.
The staff of SCAA includes Lee-Anne Armstrong, executive director of SCAA; Emily Osann, education director; and Zat Liu, community liaison director.
Womenetics: Where did the idea of SCAA come from?
Lee-Anne Armstrong: SCAA was founded in 2005 by a friend of mine who had experience with international animal welfare organizations. When she moved to Shanghai, she wanted to create an organization that met international standards, which included a medical assessment of the rescued animal. As a result, all the animals at SCAA are seen by our medical director to ensure they are in good health before they are adopted.
Womenetics: Are you the only animal aid organization in Shanghai?
Armstrong: There are other animal rescue groups, but these groups collect strays and put them in a single location – like their apartments – without any medical evaluation and as a result, diseases are often passed on to other healthy animals, making the situation even worse.
Womenetics: How difficult it is to run SCAA in China? Are you getting any government support?
Armstrong: There is no government support -- no government shelters, no animal protection laws -- but we are very grateful that every month we get donations from individuals all over the world. We are also trying to get our charity status in Hong Kong, which will allow us to fundraise more effectively.
Womenetics: How do you choose a new family for your animals?
Zat Liu: We have very strict adoption procedures. Applicants not only complete the application form, but they are also interviewed by our staff members. We devote a lot of energy, love and money to each of our rescued animals, so the last thing we want is to see them abandoned again.
Womenetics: What kind of education programs have you been doing?
Armstrong: We have worked with schools, mostly local international schools, to promote our education program. We take groups of students to our fostering and adoption events as well as to our project in Baoshan district where we have about 120 cats and five dogs.
Emily Osann: We also have different activities for different age groups. For example, for pre-school students, we bring our rescued animals to the school so children can learn how to approach and even pet an animal. We want them to learn about the humane treatment of animals at a young age.
Womenetics: Each of your animals has a heart-wrenching story. How are you able to deal with the sadness on a daily basis?
Armstrong: We have to focus on the positive side. The successful stories encourage us to keep going. For example, we make a calendar every year showing animals that have new homes and all the people that care for them. Meanwhile, we are realistic enough to know that we cannot help all the animals, but we set some high goals and work hard to achieve them.
Wang Fangqing (Frances Wang) is a freelance reporter based in Shanghai. For the past four years, she has been writing for a variety of English language publications, including Tobacco Journal International, Soap Perfumery & Cosmetics and Securities Industry News, reporting business trends in Asia. A Chinese native speaker, she is also fluent in Japanese and English.