Stray-control project kicks off in Yangon

The Myanmar Veterinary Association (MVA) and UK-based charity Worldwide Veterinary Services (WVS) have started a pilot project to neuter and vaccinate stray dogs in order to control the populations of stay animals in Yangon.

The pilot project, which is taking place from May 10 to May 18 in Hlaing Township, is expected to treat about 500 of stray dogs in the township.

“We do not encourage the destruction of strays. Strays should be allowed to live out their lives, but, we must reduce the population as rabies infections are a very real concern,” MVA executive Dr Tin Tin Wai told The Myanmar Times on Monday.

The de-sexing operations and vaccinations are being carried out by the 17 members of the WVS from the charity’s Thai office and 12 members of the MVA.

“Public health is the main concern. Hopefully, this project will reduce the rate of rabies infections in people as the main route of infection is via dogs. The rabies infection rate can be reduced if we provide stray dogs vaccinations regularly,” MVA president Prof Dr Tin Ngwe told Myanmar Times.

Controlling the birth rate among stray dogs is the best way of reducing rabies infections as just providing rabies vaccinations to a growing population of strays would be cost-prohibitive, Dr Tin Ngwe.

He said the MVA will also carry out public awareness campaigns regarding the rabies virus while conducting the project to reduce the number of strays.

He added that the MVA will work with local and international organisations on the project.

The joint MVA-WVS project will also be held in other townships in Yangon and is expected to cover the entire Yangon metropolitan area by the end of this year, Dr Tin Tin Wai said.

Data compiled by the Yangon City Development Committee’s Veterinary and Slaughterhouse Department in 2014 showed that were an estimated 70,000 stray dogs in Yangon.

The department told The Myanmar Times that about 6000 people now register their dogs at the department every year.

Currently, various nongovernment organisations and animal rights groups estimate that the populations of stray dogs of Yangon has risen to 200,000.

According to the World Health Organization, Myanmar is regarded as a country with a high risk of rabies infection.

About 500,000 people in Myanmar are bitten by stray dogs every year and up to 1000 people die of rabies annually, WHO said.

The government has set a goal to be free of rabies by 2030.

Source: Myanmar Times

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