We’ll Go on Killing Dogs, Says Government

DENPASAR

Culling stray dogs will continue without apology as the provincial government’s response to curbing the spread of rabies, government spokesman I Ketut Teneng said.

Teneng reiterated Governor I Made Mangku Pastika’s comment to the provincial legislature last week that the government would ignore international protests about the mass culls of unvaccinated dogs.

Pastika last weekend confirmed the figures he had given to the provincial legislature — 110,000 dogs culled and 200,000 vaccinated — and said Bali’s dog population was 540,000.

Spokesman Teneng said this week dog bites reported since rabies was confirmed in Bali in November 2008, when the authorities started collecting statistics, totalled 25,531. The sharp rise in reported bites had raised demand for post-exposure anti-rabies vaccine (VAR). To date, 23,031 vials of VAR had been used and 15,582 were available and ready for use.

Teneng said the Bali administration’s action in dealing with stray dogs was aimed at meeting its target to eradicate rabies on the island by 2012.

The provincial government has earmarked Rp16.07 billion (US$1.78 million) from its own budget for rabies eradication this year.

The funds are channelled through the regional animal husbandry and animal health offices, and other agencies.

Of the total of Rp16.07 billion, Rp3.38 billion ($375,000) would be used for operational activities, health care and prevention of infectious diseases.

Despite mass dog culls aimed at preventing rabies outbreaks that put Balinese at risk and threaten the tourist industry in Bali, the incidence of canine rabies has continuously increased.

All nine local government districts in Bali are now officially declared rabies areas. Around 93  people have died of the disease which first appeared in the Ungasan area of the Bukit in late 2008, where there were a number of unexplained deaths before rabies was officially acknowledged to be present.

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