World Rabies Day: together against rabies

28 September 2014

We’re working to end the unnecessary deaths of millions of dogs each year, caused by a fear of rabies.

Every day 150 people die of rabies; most of these people are children under 15 years of age. In developing countries this equates to someone dying every 10 minutes from this horrific disease.1

Killing dogs is not the solution as it does not stop the disease; mass dog vaccination is the only proven solution.

Where this is a problem, we’re working with governments to help them to provide vaccination plans that involve local communities and are tailored to the problems they face.

Here are some examples of our collaboration with governments and communities to eliminate rabies across the world:

Zanzibar, Tanzania

Rabies was reintroduced to the island of Zanzibar in 1991. Over the last four years we have worked with the government to establish a humane sustainable dog population management project.

Building on this, the government is working on an appropriate infrastructure and seeking the assistance of supporting agencies to help eliminate rabies from the area through more vaccination programmes.

Indonesia

We are working with the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) to help local authorities and communities deliver a humane rabies control solution on the island of Flores.

On the island of Nias, we are supporting the Global Alliance for Rabies Control (GARC), on the pilot Rabies Prevention and Eradication Programme, where the government is working towards eliminating rabies by 2015.

Bangladesh

We are supporting the Government of Bangladesh to deliver a National Action Rabies Plan and move towards countrywide mass dog vaccinations right across Bangladesh, where over 2,000 people die of rabies each year.

In total, since 2011, over 70,000 dogs have been vaccinated across 8 districts in Bangladesh.

China

A humane and sustainable mass dog vaccination programme to combat rabies is proving successful in pilots across China.

We have been working with the Chinese Animal Disease Control Centre (CADC). We began projects in China in 2012 in Shaanxi, Guizhou and Anhui Provinces. To date 750 vets have been trained and over 90,000 dogs vaccinated, reaching 70% of the local dog population in those provinces.

Yan Zinping of Hancheng City of Shaanxi Province said: “The locals usually think that dog culling is the only solution. However, it has been proven that culling is an inefficient and inhumane practice that does not help in eradicating rabies.”

Our CEO, Mike Baker, said: “Dogs – like all animals – have a right to live without suffering. By promoting mass vaccination we are inspiring people to change animals’ lives for the better.

“Our work in China and around the world shows that mass vaccinations are the humane and effective response to rabies. We look forward to building on these successful pilots here in China, and, with the CADC, we hope to move towards national mass dog vaccination.”

Read more about our work to end inhumane culling, or download our resource Controlling Rabies: one humane solution, three reasons why.

1 Hampson, K. et (2009) Transmission dynamics and prospects for the elimination of canine rabies. PLoS Bio, 7(3)

“Dogs – like all animals – have a right to live without suffering. By promoting mass vaccination we are inspiring people to change animals’ lives for the better."
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