The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) congratulates the Dhaka City Corporation for enforcing an immediate ban on dog culls in response to the threat of rabies. The Dhaka City Corporation had earlier ordered mass extermination drives that killed as many as 20,000 dogs a year. These cruel culls came in for sustained criticism from local group Obhayaronno, who pressured the government to adopt more humane alternatives. WSPA had also lobbied the Bangladesh government to choose Collars not Cruelty in the fight against rabies and worked with officials to demonstrate the success of our vaccination approach through a pilot project in Cox’s Bazar, completed earlier this year.
Confirming that the ban on dog culls had begun on January 1, 2012 news sources today quoted local government secretary Abu Alam Shahid Khan as having said, “It is inhumane and ineffective. For decades tens of thousands of dogs were put to death unnecessarily and brutally. They were beaten to death by iron bars. Puppies were murdered by crushing them against walls. Yet the rabies situation never improved."
“Rabies poses a serious threat to both human and animal populations. But as demonstrated by our Collars not Cruelty campaign, widespread dog vaccination is the only method scientifically proven to stop this entirely preventable disease long-term," said Ray Mitchell, International Campaigns Director, WSPA, “Compassion works where cruelty does not, and by ordering an end to the culls, the Dhaka City Corporation have shown their determination to end the rabies problem, for good.”
In November 2011, WSPA helped the Bangladesh government complete a pilot project in Cox’s Bazar, carrying out a large-scale dog vaccination project. In two weeks, four vaccination teams immunized more than 70 percent of the local dog population – enough to ensure that the local dogs, and therefore the entire community, will be safe from rabies.
The success of the Cox’s Bazar project has been critical, as acknowledged in today’s announcement as having “prompted Dhaka’s authorities to implement their no-cull policy.”
In 2012, WSPA will continue to work with the Bangladesh government to eliminate rabies through a nation-wide mass vaccination of dogs, which will save countless lives, both human and animal.
The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) seeks to create a world where animal welfare matters and animal cruelty has ended. Active in more than 50 countries, we work directly with animals and with the people and organisations that can ensure animals are treated with respect and compassion. We hold consultative status at the Council of Europe and collaborate with national governments and the United Nations.