Sterilisation is the best way to address stray dog problem

Source- The post is based on the article “Sterilisation is the best way to address stray dog problem” published in “The Indian Express” on 25th  March 2023.

Syllabus: GS3- Environment

Relevance– Issues related to stray animals

News– The article explains the challenges associated with mass killing and confinement of stray dogs.

What are statistics related to the number of deaths caused by Rabies in India?

According to the 2021 edition of National Health Profile, there were 105 cases of human death from rabies in India in 2019. The 2018 edition put the figure at 97 in 2017.

According to the relevant preceding annual National Health Profiles, there were 86 human deaths from rabies in 2016, 113 in 2015, 125 in 2014 and 132 in 2013.

What are arguments against the confining stray dogs in facilities or killing them?

Not in accordance with the Animal Birth Control(ABC) programme– Under the ABC programme, street dogs are picked up from an area, sterilised and vaccinated against rabies, and returned to the same area.

They keep unsterilised and unvaccinated dogs out. The authorities can concentrate on sterilising and vaccinating new areas until all stray dogs in a city or district are covered.

Killing all dogs in an area would enable unsterilised, unvaccinated dogs to come in. The authorities will have to return again and again to the same area to kill the new arrivals.

Until the promulgation of the ABC Rules, the number of stray dogs continued to increase in India despite relentless mass killings.

Huge investment– India will have to invest thousands of crores of rupees to set up necessary infrastructure and deploy lakhs of people to catch dogs, operate them and take care of them. Housing and feeding stray dogs permanently in “facilities” will require a continuous flow of funds. A huge amount of money will be required for buying injection syringes and lethal drugs for killing, and the safe disposal of bodies.

No evidence in support of killings– Humane euthanasia does not help. As per the WHO’s Expert Committee on Rabies, there is no evidence that the removal of dogs has a significant impact on dog population densities and the spread of rabies.

Authorities confronted by problems caused by these stray dogs have turned to mass destruction in the hope of finding a quick solution. But, it does not resolve the stray dogs problem.

What are other benefits associated with the ABC programme?

The ABC programme reduces cases of dog bites. Sterilised bitches do not go into heat. Fights among dogs over bitches don’t happen. This fight raises their aggression levels.

The rise in aggression levels when they are guarding their puppies against threats will be reduced. Many get bitten while teasing, hitting, or trying to take away puppies.

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