The Thursday, May 4 edition of the Pakistani newspaper, the Daily Times, has a story headed, “Jalil proposes sending Karachi’s stray dogs to Korea“.
City Naib Nazim Nasreen Jalil suggested to Korean Consul General in Karachi Suckchul Chang at a meeting Wednesday the possibility of sending the stray dogs of the city to Korea and said that if this proposal materialised, it would help rid the city of the dog menace.
This is one of the few suggestions often put forth by successive city governments in an attempt to combat the spread of rabies. Not only would Ms. Jalil’s proposal be ineffective in reducing stray dog populations, it would also be blatantly violating Korean law, which forbids the sale and consumption of dog meat. Each year millions of dogs suffer excessive cruelty in the dog meat industries of countries such as China, Korea, Vietnam, Japan, and Taiwan. The animals are routinely tortured before slaughter as the adrenaline in their blood is said to increase the virility of men who eat it. Ms. Jalil ought to encourage Korean authorities to implement Korean law, instead of offering our dogs to support their illegal industry.
Meanwhile, civic authorities in Karachi continue to kill stray dogs by strychnine poisoning and shooting with guns. They have even involved the general public in this from time to time by offering cash as reward for every dog killed. What they fail to comprehend is that no matter how many dogs are killed, the remaining will move into the area and quickly breed up to the carrying capacity of their ecological niche.
The World Health Organization (WHO) advocates Animal Birth Control (ABC) as a humane method of reducing dog populations and rabies control. In an ABC program, street dogs are captured, sterilized, vaccinated against rabies and released back to the area from where they were captured. The percentage of dogs that need to be sterilized to curb population growth and vaccinated to prevent the spread of rabies is 70%. If these efforts are meticulously planned and well directed, they will be effective and long-lasting.
The ABC strategy is already in effect in many countries of the world including Sri Lanka, Indonesia, India, UAE, Egypt, Brazil, Greece, Kenya and Turkey. In India, which has the highest instances of rabies and dog-bite cases in South Asia, ABC has been the official government policy for some time now, including cities such as Madras, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Calcutta, Bombay, Delhi, and Jaipur.
A sustained ABC program in every municipality of the city, in addition to proper garbage disposal, pet registration/vaccination, and awareness programs in schools and the mass media will produce dramatically visible results just as they have in other parts of the world.
Please send polite letters to editors of leading newspapers in Pakistan with a message for Karachi’s city government that killing dogs, or exporting them to dog-eating countries, is an ineffective approach and has never worked in Pakistan or any other country of the world. Remind them that under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1890, there is a penalty for cruelty to animals, punishable with a fine and imprisonment. Please urge them to consider implementing a strategy that has been scientifically proven to be effective in many cities of the world.
All letters should include the writer’s full name, postal address, e-mail address, and in the case of Pakistan, a day-time telephone number.
Please forward this alert to your friends, family and colleagues.