Bangkok/Vienna, 28 September 2023 – To celebrate World Rabies Day, FOUR PAWS, the global animal welfare organisation, gave free rabies vaccinations to over 100 dogs in Vietnam.
This was done alongside the Gia Lai provincial sub-department of Animal Health (DAH), while the treatment at the vaccination drive was carried out by FOUR PAWS experts and local veterinary staff.
Since 2020, FOUR PAWS has vaccinated more than 20,000 dogs against rabies in Southeast Asia, as well as educating pet owners about the importance of vaccinating their dogs.
In over 150 nations, rabies is believed to kill 59,000 people each year, with 95% of cases taking place in Asia and Africa. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), 99% of all transmissions originate from the bite or scratch of an infected dog.
Dr Nguyen Thi Thanh Huong, Head of the Office for Control and Elimination of Rabies in Humans, Vietnam National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology, Ministry of Health, commented, “The dog and cat meat trade in Vietnam, including slaughter, and the cross-border trafficking of live dogs has caused many consequences and obstacles for rabies control in humans and animals, as well as for achieving the 2030 goal of zero human deaths from dog-transmitted rabies. The dog and cat meat trade also poses a risk of direct transmission and interference with vaccination of dogs and cats, which undermines efforts to achieve of herd immunity.”
Matt Backhouse, FOUR PAWS’ Head of Stray Animal Care Southeast Asia, said, “We are delighted to celebrate World Rabies Day by vaccinating dogs, while supporting local communities to help prevent the spread of rabies throughout the country.
“We know that the movement of unvaccinated animals destined for the dog and cat meat trade exacerbates the spread of canine rabies and undermines efforts to eradicate the disease. International experts agree that rabies elimination is impossible without an end to the dog and cat meat trade.”
To further celebrate World Rabies Day, the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and Gia Lai Provincial People’s Committee held a Conference on September 27 on "Strengthening the role of relevant parties in implementing comprehensive rabies prevention and control solutions under the National Programme 2022 – 2030". At this event, FOUR PAWS presented their work on dog population management, rabies control, and the dog and cat meat trade in Vietnam.
“FOUR PAWS has worked for many years with the Vietnamese people, but along with public support, we also need it a political level.
“Rabies is one of the biggest public health issues in Vietnam, as well as in other developing nations – and the dog and cat meat trade makes eradicating rabies much more difficult, if not impossible. The COVID-19 pandemic exposed the obvious weaknesses of the health systems, while it also highlighted the need to recognise that human health is closely connected to the health of animals and our shared environment.”
Dr Karanvir Kukreja, Head of Companion Animals Campaigns Southeast Asia
FOUR PAWS is the global animal welfare organisation for animals under direct human influence, which reveals suffering, rescues animals in need and protects them. Founded in 1988 in Vienna by Heli Dungler and friends, the organisation advocates for a world where humans treat animals with respect, empathy and understanding. The sustainable campaigns and projects of FOUR PAWS focus on companion animals including stray dogs and cats, farm animals and wild animals – such as bears, big cats and orangutans – kept in inappropriate conditions as well as in disaster and conflict zones. With offices in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Kosovo, the Netherlands, Switzerland, South Africa, Thailand, Ukraine, the UK, the USA and Vietnam as well as sanctuaries for rescued animals in eleven countries, FOUR PAWS provides rapid help and long-term solutions. www.four-paws.org.za