Red Collars in the Fight against Rabies
19 Sept 12
WSPA says stop wasting time culling millions of dogs, when thousands are dying from rabies. The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA), the leading global animal welfare organisation, will mark World Rabies Day this September 28th through its global Red Collar campaign which is calling for an end to the unnecessary deaths of millions of dogs, every year, caused by our fear of rabies.
More than 3 billion people (about half the world’s population) are living in countries or territories where dog rabies still exists, and 99% of human deaths are caused by a rabid dog bite. It’s a deadly, but wholly preventable disease. WSPA believe the on-going battle to control rabies in humans has created another victim: man’s best friend.
WSPA estimates 20 million dogs are culled every year, mainly because of a fear of rabies, that’s 38 dogs every minute. The only solution to control rabies in humans and dogs is the humane choice: mass dog vaccination. Vaccinating 70% of dogs in a community creates a high number of immunised dogs. Unable to spread, rabies is then eliminated in the local dog population. When canine transmitted rabies is eliminated in dogs, it is eliminated in humans.
All leading organisations committed to controlling rabies, including the World Health Organisations, the World Organisation for Animal Health, the Pan American Health Organisation, World Society for the Protection of Animals, the Global Alliance for Rabies Control and the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, agree that killing dogs doesn’t control canine rabies and therefore has no impact on reducing the incidence of rabies in humans.
To help promote a humane approach to rabies control in the Asia Pacific region, WSPA is announcing a partnership to roll out a Rabies National Action Plan with the Bangladesh government. This will help stamp out rabies in Bangladesh, where over 2000 people a year die from the deadly disease. It will be rolling out programmes in Philippines and Indonesia in partnership with the Global Alliance for Rabies Control (GARC) and national governments.
In Latin America, which has been leading the way in developing a humane and sustainable approach to tackling dog rabies for nearly thirty years, WSPA will be showcasing success stories in Mexico, Brazil and Peru where rabies has virtually been wiped out using a vaccination-based approach. It will also be working with governments in South America and Central America, where rabies is still prevalent to help them introduce mass vaccination programmes and bring an end to culling.
WSPA has commissioned research in Africa this year to identify countries where rabies is most prevalent to identify how it can work with governments and communities in these countries to introduce our humane solution. WSPA plans to start running pilot schemes in Africa in early 2013. WSPA is also marking World Rabies Day by celebrating the success of its Red Collar pilot projects in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh and Bali, Indonesia. They demonstrate that a mass vaccination approach combined with community education leads to a dramatic fall in both dog and human deaths.
“We are pleased to see the successes to date, where mass dog vaccination programmes have been introduced, but our vision is to have a world where no dog is needlessly killed in response to rabies. We want to see all countries with rabies running mass vaccination programmes until this deadly disease is stamped out,” said Mike Baker, Chief Executive of WSPA International.
As part of WSPA’s Red Collar Campaign vaccinated dogs are given red collars to show they have been vaccinated and protected against rabies. These red-collared dogs are a visible symbol of the proactive measures being taken to defend the community from rabies without resorting to the cruel and unnecessary killing of dogs.
Contributed by Esmee Russell, Red Collar Campaigns Manager, The World Society for Protection of Animals. You can join the Red Collar campaign at www.wspa-international.org/redcollar, and a full press release for the campaign can be downloaded here.