May 25, 2011
As we celebrate the completion of the first phase of Bali’s island wide vaccination campaign, WSPA welcomes an announcement by the Provincial Government: authorities have renewed their commitment to the mass vaccination and launched stage two of the campaign.
This second stage of this campaign will see teams from the provincial authorities head out across the island in order to vaccinate at least 70% of all dogs. With new puppies born each year, it is vital to run two, or even three, rounds of vaccinations so as to maintain immunity to the disease across the island. The second round of vaccinations was launched in three regencies of Bali, with the remaining six to follow shortly.
Mass vaccination of the animal reservoir species (in Bali’s case, this is dogs) is internationally recognised as the most effective means of controlling and eradicating rabies. Creating immunity through vaccination of the reservoir species creates an effective barrier to the spread of the disease, leading to its eradication.
WSPA funded the first island-wide vaccination programme in Bali as an alternative to the ineffective methods of disease control that were previously being used, such as the culling of dogs with strychnine; a method that is as ineffectual as it is cruel.
Ray Mitchell, WSPA Campaigns Director, says: “Maintaining the programme in its current form offers the Balinese Provincial Government a unique opportunity to achieve its goal of a rabies-free Bali by 2012. At the same time, Bali is setting an example for other countries and emerging as a leader in humane rabies control.”
The anti-rabies campaign in Bali has attracted much attention since the disease first broke out in 2008. It brought together several diverse agencies, working together to control the outbreak with maximum regard for both human health and animal welfare.
Much of the fieldwork for the project was carried out by the Bali Animal Welfare Association (BAWA) in conjunction with local authorities and other animal welfare agencies, Yudisthira Animal Welfare and Indonesian Animal Welfare (InAW).
This massive initiative employed more than 400 Balinese people by the end of March this year and received funding from WSPA with support from the Australian government and the International Fund for Animal Welfare. It was also supported by the World Health Organisation and the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
During the first phase of the programme, which commenced in late 2010, more than 210,000 dogs (70% of Bali’s estimated population of 300,000 dogs) were vaccinated against rabies. The team from BAWA responded to all reports of suspected rabid dogs, and humanely euthanized rabid dogs as well as any unvaccinated dogs that may have been bitten by a rabid dog.
The results have been very positive, with human rabies deaths decreasing by almost 50% over four months, compared to the same period the previous year. Dog rabies cases have also decreased.
This success means that WSPA can showcase the Bali example, promoting humane solutions to rabies control across Indonesia and South East Asia, as part of our global campaign to end the inhumane culling of healthy animals.