No Killing dogs – Dhaka follows Sri Lanka lea

"We fully appreciate the decision of the public health authorities in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, to stop the killing of dogs to combat rabies," said Sagarica Rajakarunanayake, President of Sathva Mithra, commenting on media reports on this decision by the Dhaka City Corporation (DCC).

We are glad that Bangladesh is now following the lead given by Sri Lanka’s President Mahinda Rajapaksa five years ago, when he ordered a complete ban on the dog killing policy followed since British colonial days for rabies eradication. President Rajapaksa wanted the seize and kill policy to be replaced with the more modern, humane and scientific policy, namely the sterilization of dogs for population control and large scale of vaccination of dogs against rabies.

In announcing the decision of the DCC to stop the killing of dogs from January 1 this year, Local Government Secretary Abu Alam Shahid Khan had told the media that "There will be no killing of dogs including strays to combat rabies. It is inhumane and ineffective".

The DCC had previously carried out mass dog extermination drives, following the colonial practice, to protect the city’s present 15-million human population, with up to 20,000 dogs killed a year.

The Local Government Secretary had said: "For decades tens of thousands of dogs were put to death unnecessarily and brutally. They were beaten to death by iron bars. Puppies were murdered by crushing them on to walls. Yet the rabies situation never improved," the media reported.

Bangladeshi media said this ban of killing of dogs was a victory for the small but vocal animal rights movement in Bangladesh and campaigners who favoured neutering and sterilization as better ways of combating strays, which are thought to number about 150,000 in Dhaka.

 The "No Kill" policy was introduced in Dhaka following a successful sterilization campaign in the southeastern resort town of Cox’s Bazaar, which prompted the Dhaka authorities to implement their new no-cull policy.

Sagarica Rajakarunanayake said the DCC in Bangladesh had taken a bold but humane and scientific decision is stopping the killing of dogs despite reports of about 2,000 people in Bangladesh dying of rabies each year. This showed the authorities there had realized the failure of  the "seize and kill " policy and the  need for a modern and humane policy for dog population and rabies control.

Sri Lanka gave the lead to all Asia in being the first Asian country to ban the killing of dogs for rabies control, in keeping with the policy of President Mahinda Rajapaksa for the humane treatment of all animals, as stated in the Mahinda Chinthana, This is now being followed in several Indian cities, too, she said.

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