Confusion over Rabies Dog-Vaccination Plan
Dog-vaccination teams have not been seen in many areas of Bali but a top official says almost all of a targeted 400,000 strays have been injected against rabies across the island in a bid to wipe out the killer disease, appearing to contradict other accounts.
Putu Sumantra, head of the Animal Husbandry Department, told The Bali Times that inoculation teams had already fanned around Bali as an answer to the growing rabies crisis that has killed 101 Balinese.
Dogs in “all areas (of Bali) have already been vaccinated. Now we are (just finishing off) in Tabanan, in the villages of Baturiti and Candi Kuning,” Sumantra said.
After rabies was finally identified in the southern Bukit area in late 2008, after a series of unexplained deaths, the government embarked on a culling programme, but it was sporadic and many villagers have since said no extermination of stay dogs was carried at their locations.
Last month the government signed an agreement with the Bali Animal Welfare Association (BAWA), an animal-rescue centre based in Ubud and run by American jewellery designer Janice Girardi, to allow BAWA to vaccinate the majority of Bali’s estimated 560,000 stray dogs instead.
BAWA is being funded for the programme by the London-based World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA).
Girardi expressed surprise to The Bali Times on hearing Sumantra’s claim that so many dogs had been vaccinated since the project kicked off on September 28, but declined to comment further.
BAWA, working with local government departments in its vaccination effort, has said it aims to vaccinate 70 percent of the island’s stray-dog population, a level it is thought is sufficient to halt the spread of the rabies virus.
Sumantra appeared to later waver on his claim, however, saying that vaccination of dogs was still ongoing. “Sixteen teams have been working and we will develop at least 10 teams in every regency,” he was quoted by the Reuters news agency as saying.
From London, WSPA spokesman Gareth Gardiner told The Bali Times that the organisation believed that the scheme was ongoing.
“Our understanding is that the vaccination programme has only just been completed in two of the regencies of Bali … There are still seven regencies to complete, of which Klungkung and Jembrana are the next two where vaccination is underway already, to be followed by Denpasar, Badung and Tabanan in the coming weeks.”Filed under: Headlines