The time is now to eliminate rabies in dogs

14 December 2015

Global inter-governmental organisations have officially launched their framework to end dog-mediated rabies in humans by 2030 using our humane solutions.

The biggest step forward for global protection of dogs from rabies and cruel culling programmes to date has just been made.

Last week the World Health Organisation (WHO), World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) and our partners the Global Alliance for the Control of Rabies (GARC) hosted a conference in Switzerland and announced their framework for eliminating rabies by 2030, and it includes mass vaccinations for dogs.

Saving millions of dogs

95% of human rabies cases are transmitted by dog bites. To eliminate human rabies, the focus must be on eliminating dog rabies. 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.

This conference formally recognises this for the first time on the global stage. And the proof presented by us and the host organisations during this conference will protect the lives of millions of dogs who may have been culled using cruel methods in misinformed attempts to control rabies in dogs.

Our CEO Steve McIvor, who presented at the conference alongside Better Lives for Dogs Director Beryl Mutonono-Watkiss, 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. These vaccination projects proved that by vaccinating 70% of dogs in a specified area over a number of years, rabies can be eliminated. This proof was presented at this week’s conference in Geneva and provides the foundation for the global vision shared by the OIE, WHO and FAO.

Mass vaccination not only eliminates rabies, it removes the fear of rabies and the negative perception of dogs in previously impacted communities. Something Ellie Parravani, our Better Lives for Dogs Coordinator, witnessed first-hand in Kenya earlier this year.

We 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. And that humane dog population management techniques are used so that rabies stays stamped out for good. Together we will create better lives for millions of dogs around the world.  

“Mass killing of dogs does not stop rabies, but vaccination and proper management of dogs does."