Now is the time to eliminate rabies in dogs

20 June 2016

The World Health Organisation (WHO), World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) officially announced their vision to end dog-mediated rabies in humans by 2030 using our humane solutions.

Late last year, the WHO, OIE and FAO hosted a conference in Switzerland to share their vision of eliminating rabies by 2030 using humane methods, including the mass vaccination of dogs.

The conference, also supported by our partners the Global Alliance for Rabies Control (GARC), represented the biggest step forward to date towards the global protection of dogs from rabies and cruel killing programs.

Saving millions of dogs

To eliminate human rabies, the focus must be on eliminating dog rabies. 95% of human rabies cases are transmitted by dog bites. Our better lives for dogs campaign has helped to prove that mass dog vaccination is the only way to do this, and should be made a priority.

Our CEO Steve McIvor, who presented at the conference, said,

“Mass killing of dogs does not stop rabies, but vaccination and proper management of dogs does. We must ensure communities are looking after their dogs and not cruelly killing them in a futile attempt to control a rabies outbreak.

“Mass vaccination and responsible ownership of dogs will not just eliminate rabies – it will eliminate the fear of rabies and change the negative perception people have of dogs.”

Protecting dogs in Africa and Asia

Recently we have worked with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and WHO in South Africa, Tanzania and the Philippines to make sure the welfare of dogs was kept top priority during their vaccination drives.

Our vaccination projects in countries across Africa and Asia has proved that by vaccinating 70 per cent of dogs in a specified area over a number of years, rabies can be eliminated. This proof was presented at the conference in Geneva and provided the foundation for the global vision shared by the OIE, WHO and FAO.

World Animal Protection will continue to work with inter-governmental organisations, national governments and local organisations to ensure that mass vaccination is the only approach taken to eliminate rabies.

Together we will create better lives for dogs around the world.  

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