Animal Birth Control (ABC) program
Every year in India, rabies kills hundreds or maybe thousands of people – exact figures being difficult to obtain due to poor compliance in reporting to the higher authorities – and domestic dog bite is the reason for majority of these deaths, combined with lack of awareness in the importance and availability of post-exposure rabies vaccine. Because of fear of rabies transmission, street dogs are often killed systematically and in a very cruel way. However, it has been shown worldwide that killing of dogs has never had any significant long term effect to the dog population nor the rabies incidence – in fact, it has often made the situation worse.
Humane dog population control by surgical sterilization and rabies vaccination of all dogs is the most sustainable and cost-effective solution over time. Besides of operating ownerless dogs caught from the streets, we are strongly encouraging owners to have their pet dogs operated as well. This is very important especially in rural India and in all residential areas where many owned dogs are allowed to roam free at least part of the day.
IPAN works with Worldwide Veterinary Service in implementing systematic ABC program in the Nilgiris district and immediately outside of it (Coimbatore rural district) as part of the programs run at the WVS International Training Center. The ABC-program in the villages around the Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary (Nilgiris, TN) is mostly based on individual donations and volunteer work by vets visiting the IPAN Hill View Farm Animal Refuge.
The result of this work is clearly seen in the rabies statistics of Nilgiris. There has been no case of human rabies reported since 2005. Our team is working together with Pasteur Institute India, Coonoor in the process of eventually declaring Nilgiris as rabies free territory according to the OIE guidelines. The public complaints about dog bites have also come down as well as the need to rescue injured and/or abandoned puppies. The remaining dogs are in good condition as they have less competitors for the food and as they don’t need to go through pregnancy-lactation-pregnancy –cycles again and again.
Our next mission is to make Erode district rabies free in collaboration with PfA Coimbatore Unit 2 as well as with Worldwide Veterinary Service and the Mission Rabies project.