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Killing dogs does not stop rabies. WSPA proved this in Bali: it was vaccination, not poisoning, that halted this preventable disease and reinstated dogs as man’s best friend. We saved 300,000 dogs and proved once more that cruelty does nothing but cost lives.
When rabies broke out on the tourist-friendly island of Bali in 2009, authorities acted swiftly to try and stamp it out: strychnine poisoning the roaming dogs, many of which are looked after by local communities. They thought a rabies-free island was a dog-free island.
Tens of thousands of dogs died in agony. It took minute after painful minute to die. People mourned the animals. And the problem for the authorities was: it didn’t work.
The Bali Animal Welfare Association and WSPA campaigned together to convince Bali’s government to let us prove what science already shows: vaccination works. Starting with one area of the island, we worked round the clock to treat enough of the dog population to render it safe from rabies, giving each vaccinated dog a distinctive red collar.
The results were striking. And conclusive enough to stop the cull and convince authorities to let us work island-wide. In less than one year, we vaccinated 210,000 dogs,halved human rabies deaths, and saw reduction of more than 45 per cent in dog rabies cases.
Alongside this, we taught communities how to recognise signs of rabies in dogs, and how to avoid bites.
Fact overtook fear. Bali’s government has now fully adopted this ground-breaking and effective model of rabies control, to protect the future of ALL their inhabitants.
The reality of a dog cull is horrifically cruel. It doesn’t stop rabies, or save lives. Together, vaccination, education and compassion stop rabies and protect vulnerable dogs.