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Student-led ECA - All Things Animals

25 November 2015

All Thing Animals, is a student-led, extra-curricular activity for anyone that has a passion for animals. It has proven to be a great success this term...

At the first All Things Animal (ATA) session, we introduced ourselves and discussed what we would like to achieve this year as a club. We discussed our plans for the first half term and we exchanged contact details for possible external community links. We discussed animal welfare issues that were particularly important to us, and we watched a short part of the documentary ‘Earthlings’. We discussed veganism, vegetarianism and the food industry.

All About Animals_student-led ECA2

In the second session, Koto from Animal Rescue Center (ARC) came into school to offer us a presentation. She discussed topics that are particularly relevant to Saigon and to Vietnam. This included issues such as stray animals, puppy farming, lack of animal protection laws in Vietnam, inappropriate breed selections for the country (the ‘Huskie trend’), and the theft of animals for the meat market. She explained to us about the negative impact that intensive in-breeding of pedigree dogs can have on their health. She also talked about basic animal care including spaying, neutering, vaccination and teeth/coat care. We all really enjoyed the presentation. Finally, she told us the story of Lucky - a dog that was found emaciated having had her muzzle duct taped shut. We found this story shocking and it motivated us to want to do something to help.

On week three, we went to the ARC’s Saigon Pet Clinic for a visit and to talk to Dr. Nghia who is one of the founders of the ARC. Dr. Nghia studied Veterinary Medicine at the University of Nottingham. He told us about his experiences in training to be a vet; and how it is to work as a vet in Vietnam. We also saw the cats and kittens that had been rescued playing in the cattery and we were able to interact with two other cats who are permanent residents at the clinic.

All About Animals_student-led ECA3

On week four, we focused on dogs. We had visits to school from Narak (belonging to Miss McGarth), Ned (belonging to the Mincher family) and Ziggy (who was accompanied by Koto). Koto talked about how to train dogs (how to appropriately use clickers), how to brush a dog’s teeth, clean ears, how to walk dogs, how dogs interact with each other and how to escort dogs safely around Saigon. Koto and Ziggy performed an exciting series of tricks including high-five, shake hand, sit and head bump. We found this really entertaining to see and we had a go ourselves. Narak was very relaxed. She is new to Saigon but taking it all in her stride.

We started back after the half term break by watching controversial documentary The Cove. This film investigates dolphin farming in Japan and is highly emotive. This is another issue which the club feels passionately about. This half term, our goal is to start our fund raising and awareness campaigns.

Oscar Zellar / YR10 Student