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Bhutan Achieves Milestone: First Country to Sterilize Entire Stray Dog Population

Bhutan has successfully become the world’s first country to sterilize and vaccinate its entire stray dog population, marking the culmination of a 14-year-long initiative, as announced by Prime Minister Lotay Tshering. The National Dog Population Management and Rabies Control Project, initiated in 2009, resulted in the sterilization and vaccination of over 150,000 strays, with an additional 32,000 pet dogs microchipped.

The project, facilitated by the global animal charity Humane Society International (HSI), aims to address the challenges faced by the estimated 300 million stray dogs across Asia, including starvation, parasitic infections, untreated diseases, injuries, and transmissible cancers. HSI highlighted the inhumane treatment and direct persecution that these dogs often endure.

Prime Minister Tshering emphasized the significance of the achievement, attributing it to the efforts of thousands of community volunteers known as de-suups. The successful sterilization and vaccination efforts are crucial in controlling the stray dog population, reducing dog bites, and preventing the spread of rabies.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that approximately 59,000 people die from rabies globally each year, with most cases resulting from dog bites. In contrast to inhumane methods such as culling and mass sheltering, effective sterilization and vaccination play a pivotal role in curbing the rise in stray dog populations.

In a related development, the United Nations organizations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), WHO, and World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH) have recommended oral vaccination of dogs against rabies. This approach, known as oral rabies vaccination (ORV), is deemed more effective in targeted elimination efforts, especially in middle- and low-income countries in Africa and Asia.

The UN suggests integrating ORV into national strategies for dog rabies control, emphasizing its potential in free-roaming and poorly supervised dog populations. The new recommendations prioritize addressing regulatory considerations, logistics, distribution strategies, communication, campaign activities, and monitoring to enhance the effectiveness of dog rabies control programs.

Bhutan’s groundbreaking achievement serves as a global milestone in humane and effective stray dog population management, setting an example for other nations to consider comprehensive sterilization and vaccination initiatives. The UN’s endorsement of oral rabies vaccination further underscores the importance of innovative approaches in achieving the goal of zero dog-mediated human rabies deaths by 2030.

For more updates stay tuned to FELA News!

Source: DownToEarth

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