On World Rabies Day (September 28th 2012) the Bangladesh Government will announce, in collaboration with the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA), a National Action Plan to implement nationwide humane canine vaccinations across Bangladesh.
This country first action plan will end the needless and horrifically cruel practice of dog culling, and protect the dogs and communities of Bangladesh from the daily threat of rabies.
More than 55,000 people die from rabies every year globally – with authorities recording up to 2,100 of those deaths in Bangladesh.
The on-going battle to control rabies has created another victim - man’s best friend. Twenty million dogs are brutally killed every year worldwide, many as a direct result of the fear and miscomprehension around rabies.
In Bangladesh alone, many thousands of dogs have suffered horrific deaths in the past through the mistaken belief that their senseless killing will abolish rabies - it doesn’t, but the humane mass vaccination of dogs does.
A solutions-based approach
WSPA, the leading animal welfare organisation, runs its Collars not Cruelty campaign to promote this humane and effective approach to tackling rabies and encourage governments and communities to choose vaccinations over culling.
With support from WSPA, the Bangladesh Government is forging forward to vaccinate dogs.
This approach is scientifically proven as the only humane and effective way to tackle rabies, and will help safeguard generations of Bangladeshi communities from this wholly preventable disease.
“We firmly believe that mass dog vaccination is the best possible method for controlling and ultimately eliminating rabies in Bangladesh,” said Professor Be-Nazir Ahmed of Bangladesh’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. “This is why the Bangladesh Government, with WSPA, has commenced mass dog vaccination programmes across our country, along with initiatives to manage and prevent people being bitten by dogs in the first place.
“WSPA remains a trusted partner of the Bangladesh Government as we continue in our mission to eliminate rabies. Our collaboration will protect the people of Bangladesh and stop the necessity to kill any dogs, so that dogs can live in harmony with communities.”
Joanna Tuckwell, Inhumane Culling Campaign Manager, WSPA Asia Pacific, welcomed the National Action Plan: “We are delighted to be working with the Bangladesh Government and we hope their progressive approach, and the resulting decline in both canine and human rabies cases across Bangladesh, will inspire other countries to follow suit and implement a no kill policy in the fight against rabies.”
The National Action Plan follows a highly successful pilot project, launched on World Rabies Day 2011, which has seen the Bangladesh Government and WSPA vaccinate thousands of dogs in the southern beach resort of Cox’s Bazar.
The tipping point
Cox’s Bazar has seen a significant reduction of both canine and human rabies cases since over 70 per cent of the estimated 4,000 dog population have been vaccinated.
Vaccinating 70% of dogs in a community creates a barrier of immunised dogs. Unable to spread, rabies then becomes eliminated in the local dog population. When rabies is eliminated in dogs, it is eliminated in humans. WSPA’s global Red Collar Campaign acts as an introduction to wider animal welfare issues in communities, such as initiating humane dog population control and improving the relationship between people and dogs.
“Our Red Collar Campaign calls on national and local governments to stop killing 20 million dogs a year, too many of which are killed, because of our fear of rabies. It’s needless, cruel and ineffective. Through our Red Collar Campaign, we are committed to working with governments to introduce mass vaccination programmes; the only proven and humane way to wipe out rabies in communities” concluded Mike Baker, Chief Executive of WSPA International.