THE Chief Minister of Penang, Lim Guan Eng, has announced that there will be mass culling of all stray dogs on the island as there were two reported cases of rabies.
I am shocked that he has made such a call without considering other more humane options of dealing with and controlling the spread of the disease.
I understand that Lim is concerned about the spread of rabies in Penang, but I hope that he will re-consider his call to destroy all stray dogs as this has been proven time and again to be ineffective in curbing the spread of the disease.
I would also like to ask if it has been confirmed that the rabies cases reported were in fact due to dog bites? Rabies is spread by many other animals including dogs and cats, and in particular wildlife such as bats.
Having worked for the Mayhew Animal Home in England for two years and been heavily involved in animal welfare and rescue work in Malaysia for many years, I can assure you that the mass culling of animals usually does little, if nothing, to control the spread of diseases.
In fact, international organisations such as the World Health Organisation (WHO) have promoted mass vaccinations of dogs when dealing with rabies outbreaks. This method has proven to be more successful than culling and provides long term immunity.
Additionally, I am not sure if Lim is aware that the dog catchers who have been employed by all councils in Malaysia use very cruel and inhumane methods that are totally unacceptable.
I hope that Lim will consider a more humane and sustainable method.
Animal Welfare Advocate