Dog Population Management & Canine Rabies Control
India’s Official Dog Control Program in an international context
India has 80% of the world’s rabies fatalities according to the
World Health Organization (W.H.O.). This figure has changed little
in the last couple of
decades. The W.H.O. identifies the largest reservoir of rabies in
India as the dog population (Att.2: pg.10,11, para.#1).
The AWBI funded Animal Birth Control (ABC) Program, now implemented
in over 13 cities by various Animal Welfare Organizations (AWOs)
has been promoted in India since 1994 as one recommended by the
W.H.O. (Att.9: pg.1).
The W.H.O. Program was developed in association with the World Society
for the Protection of Animals (W.S.P.A.) and is in fact distinct
in every way, from the current Program followed in India (Att.1,2,3&4).
In a letter to a prominent social activist, the W.H.O. South East
Asia Regional Office distanced themselves from the Indian Animal
Birth Control Program (Att.8). Further, they stated that all Member
Governments (including India) had accepted the W.H.O. strategy for
rabies elimination, which can be stated in a single sentence: promote
and enforce pet control laws, undertake sustained re-immunization
and eliminate unwanted dogs (Att.2).
Plans developed by the W.H.O. to prevent and control the transmission
of rabies have also always included activities aimed at reducing
stray dog populations and in particular urge Governments to give
greatest encouragement to the identification and neutering of household
dogs (Att.1: pg.7, para.#4 and pg.84, para.#1,2).
In 1998, the W.H.O. stated, ‘The lack of a comprehensive strategy
and effective intersectoral coordination, coupled with obstructive
socio-cultural and religious myths have resulted in perpetuation
of the rabies problem in India.’ (Att.2: pg.10, para.#10).
This compilation highlights critical lapses in the design and implementation
of the A.W.B.I.’s ABC Program and it’s distinction from the W.H.O.
Dog Control Program.
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