Remembering Sheena

Stop Animal Abuse in Malaysia.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

RSC Demands Tesco Explanation

Dear Sir,


I refer to my telephone conversation with Diana Sjaiful, Personal Assistant to the CEO of Tesco Stores (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd (“Tesco”) yesterday.

I represent the Remembering Sheena Campaign (“RSC”) and had called to speak to the CEO of Tesco after reading an article that appeared in The Star newspaper dated January 21, 2006. The article was written by Hilary Chiew and titled ‘Education or Freak Show’?

The article is about a so-called education show, The Animal Island Show held at a hypermarket in Shah Alam. But the report suggests that it is far from an educational show but a cruel display of animals.

When I called The Star newspaper to find out the name of the hypermarket where The Animal Island Show was being held, I was given the name Tesco, Shah Alam.

The article speaks of long-tailed macaques chained to a steel-bar platform, water lizards kept in small, dingy cages and of pools filled with dirty water as the only source of drink available to these animals. Their cages are also said to be filthy.

The article further reports that marine biologist, Louisa Ponnampalam who visited the hypermarket expressed concern over the condition of the animals and queried why this sort of ‘freak show’ is being held in the compound of a respectable hypermarket.

She went further to say that it was distressing to watch some parents poking fun at the chained macaques and all these contribute to wrong messages being sent to children about animals.

I express the same concern to Tesco. We at RSC are doing our utmost to stamp out this image of an unfeeling, uncaring society. In the light of the many abuse cases reported in the Press of late, we have launched a campaign to stop animal abuse in Malaysia and held a very successful rally on Saturday, January 21, 2006 at SPCA Selangor.

So it is a terrible shame to see large corporations like Tesco condoning if not simply indifferent to the plight of animals in Malaysia.

After the telephone conversation between me and Diana, I was later told by Diana that Tesco will be asking the organizers of The Animal Island Show to leave their premises.

We are not satisfied with Tesco’s decision and ask that Tesco please make an official statement to the Press and the Department of Wildlife and National Park that:

(a) they do not support animal cruelty; and
(b) expressly request the Department of Wildlife and National Park to please investigate how the organizers of The Animal Island Show are allowed to keep wildlife under such deplorable conditions.

Tesco has branded itself as more than just a grocery store, but a family store with playstations and even DJs sometimes present, during festive seasons, entertaining families as they shop. So it is certainly in the community interest for Tesco to take a stand on issues such as animal abuse especially when it has allowed for some period of time the existence of this horrendous Animal Island Show on its premises.

It is not good enough to quietly let this show move on elsewhere without making a statement that Tesco has done so not as Diana put it to me “does not want to offend their customers who are animal lovers” but because Tesco does not condone practices of animal abuse.

Please do not tell us that you are cancelling the lease of this organizer simply because we made a fuss. Tell us you are indeed a “respectable hypermarket” as marine biologist, Louisa Ponnampalam called Tesco and do not want to send out the wrong messages to children that it is all right to be cruel to animals.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Yours faithfully,

Shoba Mano
Remembering Sheena Campaign
e-mail: or


  • At 1:58 PM, Blogger Louisa Ponnampalam said…

    Dear Shoba,

    I want to say "Well Done!" on the letter of complaint which you wrote to the CEO
    of Tesco,and also for taking the initiative to contact Tesco regarding the
    appalling animal exhibit that was Animals Island.

    With the resistance and slow reaction of the wildlife department to this issue,I
    was hoping that some reaction from members of the public would help move this
    case further along....and you came through!

    I personally feel that a huge amount of shame should fall on the Wildlife
    Department for the way they have and are handling this issue....the classic
    "tidak apa" attitude.However I don't know who can possibly put them in that
    light of embarassment and how.

    Now that Animals Island have been removed from the premises of Tesco Shah Alam,
    I hope that they will not be able move elsewhere to set up,especially in smaller
    towns where the risk of being caught once again is much reduced.Do you know what
    the current fate of Animals Island is and the animals they were keeping?Do you
    also know if Tesco agreed to release the statement that they do not support
    animal cruelty etc?

    I currently spend a lot of my time out of Malaysia,due to studies,but if there's
    anything more I can do to assist with this issue,please let me know.

    I wish you all the best in your other conquests to lobby for animal welfare,and
    I want to sincerely say once again "WELL DONE!" for all your efforts!I can only
    wish that one day,there will be more Malaysians who would not be so ignorant on
    the issue of animal rights and animal welfare.

    Best wishes,

  • At 8:02 PM, Blogger chevotilburg said…

    Hi Shoba,

    Kudos for the work and effort you have put in.

    I have not been to the Animals Island, but hopefully someone (maybe you) or the SPCA or atl east the Wildlife dept will keep an eye on them.

    Is there a way to keep track of the organisers?

    If there are no rules to govern organisers who put up animal shows, there should be!

    But keep up the good job. I admire you and your crew for putting up the site and making it known that animal cruelty in Malaysia cannot continue.


  • At 10:48 AM, Blogger Shoba said…

    Below is Siti Bahijah Bakhtiar's letter that was printed in The Star newspaper dated February 1, 2006. Well done, Cynthia!


    RECENTLY, there has been news splashed across the newspaper about cruelty to animals and cases being brought to court.

    However, I do not think that these cases are being taken into serious consideration as paying a ridiculously trivial fine of RM100 to RM200 has no long term effect on the offender.

    Cruelty encompasses a range of behaviours harmful to animals, from neglect to malicious killing.

    Many studies in psychology, sociology and criminology during the last 25 years have demonstrated that violent offenders frequently have histories of serious and repeated animal abuse.

    In the US, the FBI has recognised the connection since 1970s when its analysis of the lives of serial killers suggested that almost all of them had killed or abused animals at one time in their life.

    Other research has shown consistent pattern of cruelty to animals among perpetrators of more common forms of violence including child abuse, spouse abuse and elder abuse.

    People abuse animals for the same reasons they abuse people. Virtually every serious violent offender has a history of animal abuse in their past and since there is no way of knowing which animal abuser is going to continue to commit violent human crimes, they should all be taken seriously.

    Start imposing stiffer and harsher penalties on offenders before it is too late and gets out of hand.

    Shah Alam.

  • At 10:52 AM, Blogger Shoba said…

    Below is a letter from Cynthia Hassan, a volunteer with
    RSC which was printed in the Star newspaper dated February 1, 2006.

    Opinion Page,
    The Star newspaper
    Wednesday, February 1, 2006


    I WOULD like to ask people not to patronise places where live animals, exotic or otherwise are in a stressful situation and put “on show.”

    This is because such kinds of shows are to the detriment of both animals and humans alike.

    It is cruelty to the animals and it is not educational.

    You are giving your children and each other the wrong message and wrong values.

    It is just not right to hold this type of show and inflict this kind of stress on any animal, reptile or otherwise.

    It is also extremely sad that a human being in his or her greed can be so insensitive to the feelings of animals. A percentage of society are immune to the feelings of “others” and there are those who for their own selfish reasons don't care.

    It is time the Government became honest and accountable for what is happening to our country's wildlife and domestic animal society.

    This letter, pertaining to a macaque chained to a steel bar and a monitor lizard of sorts in a tiny cage, is meant for any such situation.

    From the abuse of nature, the oceans, the rainforests, man is getting immediate monetary gain, but it is short term.

    His grandchildren and great grandchildren are going to suffer.

    We need the oceans and the rainforests to survive.

    And they will never know the beauty and the wonderland of nature lost to them.



Post a Comment

<< Home