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The Balinese authorities’ ongoing efforts to prevent the spread of rabies across their idyllic tourist destinations have so far been unsuccessful.
They are relying on mass culls by painful strychnine poison, but this is proven to be ineffective in tackling the root causes of a rabies outbreak, meaning the people are not better protected and dogs become victims on a mass scale.
WSPA has been working with BAWA and as part of the Bali Rabies Forum – a group of NGOs committed to protecting dogs and stamping out rabies – over the last year, lobbying for an end to the cull so we can take forward a World Health Organization backed method of mass dog vaccination and public education – methods that are proven to prevent rabies spreading.
Bali’s dogs have become collateral in the local authorities’ battle to deal with rabies. Despite local people caring for the island’s roaming dog population, many of which are considered pets, they have been subjected to prolonged deaths, convulsing in agony as the poison works.
WSPA and BAWA have been lobbying hard over recent months and weeks, using evidence and case studies from other countries – including Flores, Indonesia – to convince the Balinese authorities to stop the cull so that a humane, comprehensive approach to ending rabies can begin.
We now have a promise that culls will cease from the headmen of villages in the Ubud area and we will be looking for the same from other villages in the wider Gianyar Regency.
This support is what we have all been working towards: having prepared with Bali Animal Welfare Association (BAWA), WSPA is able to jump into action immediately and start saving dogs.
BAWA vet with one of the dogs they care for.
Armed with nets, vaccines and disposable syringes, the BAWA team is already mobilised and heading to villages in Ubud, receiving those dogs brought by local people – also helping to catch those that are hard to handle –vaccinating and collaring them (distinctive orange collars to indicate that they have received the vaccine).
At the same time, the team will be explaining to people in the village the importance of the vaccination programme, and describing the symptoms of rabies so they can identify any unvaccinated and potentially infected dogs, isolate them and immediately call BAWA for help on their 24-hour emergency line.
WSPA is funding 40,000 vaccinations and mobilising the Member Society network to ensure BAWA have all the tools and personnel they need to prove that compassionate and responsible action, backed by science, must replace culling across the whole of Bali.
We need to achieve this as fast as possible to prove that vaccination works.
Please help us achieve an end to the suffering this with a gift to Bali’s dogs: the vaccination, collar and syringe for one dog costs just over US$1 >>
We hope success in the Gianyar Regency will finally convince the governor of Bali to stop all culls across the island and agree to adopt and fund a long-term humane approach – one that saves animals, protects people, and will ensure that Bali’s reputation as one of the most beautiful places on earth to visit remains intact.