Dogs in Bangladesh

97,000 dogs protected in Bangladesh…and we’re still counting


World Animal Protection has been working with the Government of Bangladesh since 2011 to help implement a humane and sustainable way to prevent the spread of rabies - through mass dog vaccination.

Culling dogs for the fear of rabies used to be common practice in Bangladesh. They were brutally caught using strong iron tongs and then injected with poison directly into their heart. Dogs, like all animals have a right to live without suffering, and to manage dog populations humanely, we have been working with the government to vaccinate them against rabies, instead of culling them.

Many families in rural Bangladesh keep free ranging cattle, goats, chicken and dogs and children grow up around them. Dogs mostly roam free and are cared by the entire community. People are aware of the risks from stray dogs like diseases, aggressive behaviour, and injury to livestock – but culling has never been an answer.

The only way to eliminate the virus is through vaccination. Vaccinating at least 70% of the dogs in an area creates ‘herd immunity’, thereby slowing the spread of rabies until it dies out. With more dogs getting vaccinated we have been able to establish the faith amongst the people that healthy dogs are not a threat and are safe to be handled.

With the roll out of the vaccination plans with the government, we have been able to involve the local communities and address the specific problem people face. We have helped people learn how to look after dogs responsibly. We have been able to help the communities and dogs live together healthily and without fear.

Our work in Bangladesh has come a long way from educating owners to bringing a change in the legislation to protect dogs; from getting as many dog registered to vaccinating them. We have still have a long way to go as we continue our work with countries where dog culling is a big problem – training owners to care for dogs humanely and pushing for better dog population management – to reduce conflicts between people and dogs, to help progress spread.

Gajender Sharma, World Animal Protection India Country Director commended the increasing number of dogs being saved in our neighbouring country:

“We move governments worldwide to end the inhumane culling of millions of dogs each year and help them to adopt humane and sustainable solutions such as mass dog vaccination is the only proven solution to rabies. Through our rabies vaccination programme we helped Government of Bangladesh to stop inhumane culling of dogs in the name of rabies and this approach will help Bangladesh to become rabies free country, without culling dogs.”

During our recent visit to one of the villages in Bangladesh, we came across two dog owners who had their stories to share. Read their stories on our India Facebook page.

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