Q: Why do some governments choose to cull dogs in response to rabies?
A: When there’s a rabies outbreak, governments want to react quickly to this terrible disease. Often they introduce mass culls of dogs, in the mistaken belief that this will help solve the problem quickly. But as has been demonstrated countless times, indiscriminate killing of dogs does not control the spread of rabies. The only way to effectively tackle the problem is to introduce mass vaccination programs.
Q: How soon after they’re bitten will someone know if they have rabies?
A: It varies between individuals -- it could be weeks or months. The problem with this disease is that once the symptoms are visible, it is too late to receive treatment. The treatment needs to be sought as soon as a person is bitten by a potentially infected dog.
Q: How does mass vaccination work?
A: The majority of human cases of rabies come from a dog bite from a rabid dog. If we vaccinate about 70% of the dogs in a given area, this will provide what is known as herd immunity. It’s an effective barrier against the spread of rabies within the local dog population, and the disease will die out.
Q: Why do some governments choose culls to control stray dog populations?
A: Millions of dogs are cruelly culled every year in a misguided attempt to control the amount of strays on the streets, because governments and communities are worried about the risk of diseases (such as rabies), aggressive behavior, and damage to livestock. But the dog culling methods used -- such as shooting, poisoning or electrocuting -- often cause extreme suffering. We know that humane approaches to managing stray dog populations are much more effective than culling. These approaches include educating people about responsible pet ownership, promoting dog registration, neutering of stray and owned dogs, and vaccination against rabies.