Image above: A dog caught by the authorities. Some dogs will not see the end of the day!
World Animal Protection (WPA) urges Malaysia to vaccinate its dogs as mass culling, as ordered by authorities in Penang, Malaysia, is a cruel and misguided attempt to curb the spread of rabies. The inhumane culling of dogs is neither acceptable nor effective under any circumstance.
Global experts agree there is no evidence that the removal of dogs has any significant impact on the spread of rabies or dog population density. Humane and effective alternatives to culling exist and are being implemented in countries such as Indonesia and China.
Culling dogs in an attempt to control rabies runs counter to the Asean Rabies Elimination Strategy (Ares), which provides a strategic framework for the eradication of rabies in Asean member states by 2020. WPA shares the feeling of many Malaysians upset over the state government’s senseless killing of dogs. Culling can be extremely affecting for the communities involved, especially in cases where domestic pets can be inadvertently killed.
The Penang state authorities must take a sustainable approach, address the core issue of managing the dog population, and implement a humane and effective solution. Joanna Tuckwell the “Ending Inhumane Culling” campaign manager, has said, “Killing dogs to eliminate rabies is completely ineffective and unacceptable. Based on our experience, we know that the methods used will be cruel and extremely distressing for dogs.
“Our past work delivering mass vaccination programmes around the world has seen in some cases a 76 per cent decrease in rabies in the affected dog populations. Vaccination works.
“We urge the Malaysian authorities to immediately halt all culling activities, and to implement humane and effective mass vaccination programmes in the fight against the spread of rabies.”
Mass dog vaccination is the best solution
The only way to address challenges associated with roaming dogs, and protect the dogs and communities from rabies, is a combination of mass dog vaccination, humane dog population management, and promoting responsible pet ownership.
Measures including neutering and vaccination of stray and owned animals, legislation to protect dogs, identification and registration of dogs, and educating local people to encourage better animal welfare – can all help dogs and people live safely together.
WPA actively promotes dog population management across the globe including moving people to respect and value dogs and developing and implementing solutions that work for animals and for people, including the prevention of inhumane dog culling. Tom Shennan is a part of World Animal Protection, an international non-profit animal welfare organisation.
Video above: Can we say that this video is a dog's point of view?
Elsewhere in Britain
THOUSANDS of families have abandoned their pet dogs during the past year causing British animal shelters to hit breaking point. As a result, healthy dogs have to be killed by councils who are struggling to cope with increase in dumped dogs.
The shocking statistics revealed 1,464 canines were left in council pounds in Scotland alone. Nearly 100 healthy pooches have been put down in Scotland after animal charities admitted they were at breaking point.Across Britain, the situation has become so desperate healthy but unwanted dogs are now being put down at a rate of one every two hours.
Shocking report for across Britain found more than 47,500 dogs have been thrown out onto the streets by their owners across Britain.
(Healthy but unwanted dogs are being put down to sleep at a frequency of 2 hourly in Britain)
The appalling level of animals being discarded amounts to 280 strays every day. Stray dogs picked up off the street can be put down after just seven days.
Animal welfare groups are warning pet owners that shelters are struggling to care for the numbers of strays taken in every day. The Dogs Trust handled nearly 45,000 calls from people trying to give up their dogs this year.
Dog charities have blamed a "throw away" culture and are now urging people to think carefully before committing to a pet dog. Just last month, a starving dog was found abandoned with its mouth painfully taped shut for nearly two days.
Image above: The poor mutt's mouth had to be surgically operated on in order to remove the tape.
Adrian Burder, chief executive of Dogs Trust, said: "To learn that over 1,400 unclaimed and unwanted dogs are left in council kennels across Scotland should shock us as a country of dog lovers.
"Abandoning a dog is simply unacceptable and, sadly, Dogs Trust's famous slogan 'A Dog is For Life' is as significant as ever - if you are not ready to care for a dog for its entire life, do not commit to becoming a dog owner."Stray dogs that find themselves at Dogs Trust are the lucky ones as we will care for a dog for its entire life if needed, but not all are so lucky and treating a family pet as a disposable item has to stop."
The problem with strays appears universal. On one side of the globe, the strays multiply the numbers and on the other side, the owners seem to abandon their pets after awhile. This is made worse when there are claims of rabies as happened in Malaysia. With the onset of the disease, putting to sleep maybe an option but vaccination can prevent it. The Penang State Chief Minister did request for vaccination but the process requires written consent from the Federal government. And as usual, the way the bureaucracy has it, the vaccination option was a short sighted one.
Since probably the lifestyle and work commitment does not make it easy to adopt a pet, and if the owners so choose to abandon it, it is hoped that they would at least have the decency to put it to sleep the easy way rather than having to tape and starve a dog to death. How cruel can that be?