At the age of 21 years old, Dabria Yiong is the founder of The Animal Welfare Station, a platform dedicated to consolidating all things related to animal welfare to foster public understanding. With the motto “empowering animals by educating humans”, Dabria has been working closely with two other friends, Lisa and Kristy, to build a strong animal-loving community in Singapore and beyond.Question: Tell us more about what you do!
With education integral to The Animal Welfare Station, my role as the founder is to oversee the content we publish while brainstorming for more avenues to make an influential impact on the community. While my team and I do not abide by a strict content calendar, I ensure that The Animal Welfare Station is kept up to date with the trends, events, and commemorative days to make our content as relevant as possible.Question: What inspired or motivated you to start this?
Dachi, my pet dog, was certainly an inspiration! While I did have an existing interest and passion for animal welfare, I did not actively conduct research on animal welfare issues until Dachi was introduced to my family in 2014.
Like most pet owners, Google soon became a frequent source of information. Her issues ranged from forms of aggression towards other dogs and poor socialising skills to genetic issues and even a Mast Cell Tumour (MCT). Googling led my family and I to learn more about puppy mills, or commercial dog breeding facilities, and we believe Dachi may have come from one of them.
Although my interest in welfare issues surrounding the breeding of domestic animals was piqued, the news surrounding the death of an elephant who ate an explosive-laden fruit was the final push that led to the inception of The Animal Welfare Station. A mere few months before this tragedy, the international community was also shaken by the marketing gimmick of a theme park in China that forced a pig to bungee jump. Despite the buzz it generated on social media, the anger soon died down. Piecing these instances of cruelty together, made me realise how quick it is for society to carry on with life without making any changes to prevent such animal abuse from happening again. Hence, The Animal Welfare Station was born out of the need to remind the public of the prevalent issues surrounding animal welfare.Question: Have you faced any challenges so far? And how did you overcome them?
Content creation and the balancing of commitments was stressful for us. While my two friends and I had our division of labour sorted out, it was occasionally difficult for me to ensure that our posts were effective or appealing. In addition to that, given that my team and I are all full-time students, there were periods of time where none of us was able to set aside sufficient time to churn out proper articles.
Fortunately, we were able to overcome the problem by having several short-term measures such as using ‘filler’ posts, which include posting quotes, images of our pets, or a short post to commemorate a special animal day. As for the long-term, I’ve introduced an inventory system where articles are written weeks or months prior to posting, and the same goes for social media posts.Question: If you could share one piece of advice with your fellow youth, what would it be?
Be confident, and be the changemaker! While I wouldn’t say that I have made big changes by creating The Animal Welfare Station, hearing how my friends and family have learnt something new or made changes to their lifestyles have been extremely meaningful. So, take things one step at a time, and you can slowly make the world a better place!Question: What are your hopes or plans for the future? What do you want to see or perhaps do?
With regards to The Animal Welfare Station, I certainly hope for us to be more active in the animal welfare scene! I wish to see individuals from local and international communities be more aware of animal welfare issues and take steps to rectify these problems. And of course, for animals to live in a cruelty-free environment.