Time for Real Rabies Action

Almost two years and nearly 80 human deaths later, the outbreak of rabies in Bali has ballooned from a few isolated cases in the southernmost Bukit area to infect stray dogs and kill people throughout the island.

It is a deadly picture of chronic eradication-mismanagement that is now making headlines around the world and causing would-be holidaymakers to reconsider travelling to Bali. The lives of people in Bali are not only increasingly at risk but their livelihoods, too.

Nearly eight years ago Bali was devastated by terrorist bombings; now it is becoming mired in a more fatal crisis that is of its own making.

Bali is infested with hundreds of thousands of stray dogs. This is the mobile reservoir of the rabies virus. Cullings and vaccinations have been carried out by the authorities but on nowhere near the scale that is warranted to close off this pool of infection.

Meanwhile, because ordinary Balinese now understand the risk of rabies, the number of people reporting dog bites (and seeking vaccination) is soaring. Bali Health Department chief Dr Nyoman Sutedja said at the weekend that the average has risen to 165 people per day, for a total of over 60,000 a year – more than double previous figures.

For those who are bitten, supplies of rabies vaccine are hard to come by, are not free (the shots are but hospitals charge an administration fee) and in many cases there is none at all. That means that some must return home from hospital only to die an agonising death later. This is a spiralling human tragedy. 

None of it need be happening. The solution to this snowballing crisis is an eminently simple one: Teams of officials need to fan out across the island and cull every stray dog in sight.

We can no longer endure bleeding-heart voices from animal-welfare activists here and abroad. The time to “humanely” deal with rabies is over; people are dying. It is inhumane for these activists to put the lives of dogs over those of people. Let us stop the suffering of families as their young children, husbands and wives die. Let us wipe out this scourge now, by eradicating every stray dog we can find. Then we can vaccinate dogs and build real protection for our people.

Filed under: Editorial

2 Responses to “Time for Real Rabies Action”

  1. T.N Says:

    You say “because ordinary Balinese now understand the risk of rabies, the number of people reporting dog bites (and seeking vaccination) is soaring” however how could you measure this appropriately without knowing the decrease or increase beforehand. Therefore stating that the number recorded has doubled figures, is correct, but they are not the right figures.

    Speaking to many tourists on the island who have visited Bali a couple of times, they have seen the change that animal-welfare activists are implementing. If you eradicate all the stray dogs, there will be an increase in rats, because of all the food supply (trash) being left on the streets of Bali. This would/could increase diseases on the island. Culling every stray dog in sight is completely inhumane. Everyone deserves an opinion, however before they form such an opinion, they should check both sides of the argument concisely.

  2. steve Says:

    should bring in the army to dispose of stay dogs and any in poor condition or basically any that has not got a id collar of some sort of ownership markings. the army in a safe manner shoot to kill using low powered rifles thus getting rid of thousands of dogs quickly and humanely as well as the army boys getting live mobile target pratice which must be good training to keep there eyes in. for the price of 1 round of ammo for 1 dog kill i would suggest thats a bargin, have the animal husbandry teams overseeing the projects etc and mopping up the dead and disposeing off them in the correct manner which dosent mean givving to the dog eating restuarants etc. and before you greenie deadly dog lovers get upset…dont,dont think of the poor we dogs getting slaughtered,try thinking of the humans getting slaughtered from the dogs,

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