Bangladesh amends `cruel` plans to control stray dogs
Last Updated: Monday, November 08, 2010, 22:32
Dhaka: Bangladeshi health officials said on Monday they would use "humane" methods to cull stray dogs following criticism of previous attempts to control the animals which included beating them to death.

According to government data, nearly 100,000 people reported being bitten by dogs in 2009 and at least 2,000 people died of rabies in the South Asian country, the highest per capita rate in the world.

In July, the government launched a major anti-rabies drive, which included killing stray dogs by beating them or by giving them lethal injections of magnesium sulphate without first administering anesthetic.

"We realise our existing ways to control rabid dogs are too cruel," said Moazzem Hossain, head of disease control at the government's health department.

Hossain said his department had launched a trial sterilisation programme for stray dogs which, if successful, will be rolled out nationwide.

Local authorities are also piloting a new method of putting dogs to sleep using anesthetic before administering a lethal injection.

"Normally, we catch dogs alive then inject them (with magnesium sulphate) but this has been criticised by the World Health Organisation and other groups," said Azmat Ali, veterinary officer with the Dhaka City Council.

The Bangladesh Anti-Rabies Alliance welcomed the announcement, an official saying that "sterilisation is the most humane way to control stray dog populations and prevent rabies".


First Published: Monday, November 08, 2010, 22:32

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