Rabies vaccinations ordered for all shelter animals

Rabies vaccinations ordered for all shelter animals

By Joy Lee, The China Post
July 26, 2013, 12:31 am TWN

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Council of Agricultural (COA) yesterday announced that all animals in shelters and breeding grounds must receive rabies vaccinations to avoid a rabies epidemic.

The COA said that all representatives from animal shelters and from animal protection organizations will be invited to the COA in order to confirm the amount of rabies vaccines that will be needed.

According to the COA, this will be the most massive and complete vaccination of stray animals in Taiwan's history.

Huang Kuo-ching (黃國青) of the COA said that vaccinations of stray cats and dogs is the key to rabies prevention.

“There are three stages of rabies: prodromal stage, furious rabies stage, and the paralytic stage,” said Huang.

“The case of a ferret-badger attacking a man in Taitung suggested that the ferret-badger was at the furious rabies stage,” Huang said, “and judging from the statements from residents in the village where this case took place that local ferret-badgers have been acting slow and have been easier to catch, it is possible that some ferret-badgers are in the final paralytic stage.”

“If those rabies-infected ferret-badgers come in contact with stray dogs or cats,” Huang said, “the rabies virus could be widespread.”

Huang said that if the government waits until the stray cats and dogs start attacking people, it might cause a massive outbreak of rabies.

According to statistics from the COA, there are approximately 70,000 stray dogs nationwide, and over 20,000 stray dogs and cats have been taken in by animal protection organizations.

The COA said that the council is to prepare around 100,000 rabies vaccines for the upcoming mass vaccinations.

Animal Activists Urge Not to Kill Stray Dogs

The Life Conservationist Association (LCA) yesterday said that killing stray animals is not the best way to prevent rabies infections.

The LCA's Director of the Board Yang Sen-hong (楊憲宏) said that the government has not taken proper steps to prevent rabies, but it is the stray dogs that are now responsible for the delinquency of the government.

Ho Tsung-hsun (何宗勳) of the LCA said that Taipei has now set up 10 hot spots to capture stray dogs and other cities could conduct similar actions.

“The government should start by promoting TRN (trap, neuter and release) that will only cost around NT$10 million along with efforts from volunteers in order to better solve the stray animal issue,” said Ho.


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