Mar 2, 2009
Bali’s dogs are dying. The island’s authorities, in a kneejerk reaction to six suspected human rabies fatalities, are culling dogs. But over 90 percent of the island’s dogs are owned and roam freely, meaning the majority of the animals being killed are healthy, loved pets.
So far, over 1,000 dogs have died. Strychnine poison is widely used, which leaves the animals conscious throughout the convulsions that end in suffocation. The suffering is acute.
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As a tourism hot spot, Bali cannot afford to lose its ‘rabies-free’ status, which it has maintained despite sporadic outbreaks across other parts of Indonesia.
However, the Balinese government’s response is ineffective as well as being inhumane: a dog cull does not attack the root cause of the disease and cannot safeguard human health.
The World Health Organization recognizes that the only proven way to eradicate this fatal disease for the long term is through the mass vaccination of dogs, complemented by public education.
The Bali Rabies Forum, a coalition of animal welfare groups including WSPA, has submitted recommendations for humane and effective rabies prevention in Bali.
But a humane program cannot work without the commitment of the Balinese authorities – vaccinated animals will be killed alongside non-vaccinated dogs and rabies will not be tacked effectively.
Please sign an online letter to the Balinese governor, asking him to adopt a humane approach that will both protect animals and ensure islanders and visitors have nothing to fear from rabies.
Read letter and sign >>