The Mayhew Animal Home, also a registered NGO in Afghanistan, has signed a landmark agreement with Kabul City authorities to halt dog culling in the city and introduce an animal welfare strategy incorporating a sustainable and planned rabies vaccination programme combined with a humane dog population control programme.
The groundbreaking agreement was signed on 22nd January 2017 by The Mayhew’s Afghanistan Project Manager, Dr. Abdul Jalil Mohammadzai DVM, and dignitaries from the Kabul Municipality: Mr. Abdullah Habibzai, Kabul City Mayor, Mr. Massihullah Mahbob, Deputy Mayor, Ms Fawzia Ahsani, Deputy Ministry of Transport, and Mr. Abdul Tawab Ahmadi, Head of Sanitation.
The agreement means that Kabul Municipality will halt the current practice of poisoning free-roaming dogs in Kabul City and The Mayhew can lead the way for rabies vaccination and prevention, animal welfare initiatives and education in Kabul and Afghanistan.
The agreement follows the first dog population survey in Kabul carried out by The Mayhew in 2015 and producing scientifically analysed results to develop proposals for the implementation of a mass rabies vaccination programme and dog population control and management initiatives for Kabul’s street dogs. The resulting plans and recommendations gave a clear primary objective to eliminate rabies in the city and make Kabul safer and more secure for both people and animals.
Since the survey was carried out, Dr. Mohammadzai DVM has met and discussed The Mayhew’s animal welfare strategy for Afghanistan with numerous Government officials and agencies to advance towards the agreement.
With the support of the Afghan Government and the city authorities, The Mayhew will work towards implementing a longer term and sustainable solution for rabies prevention and control to more effectively and humanely reduce and stabilise the free-roaming street dog population. The Mayhew will work alongside Kabul Municipality and other Afghanistan Government sectors and NGOs to deploy a rabies vaccination and Trap Neuter Return (TNR) programme in Kabul City to neuter street dogs.
Kabul City authorities have been operating a programme of dog culling through Strychnine poisoning in the belief that it will help prevent the spread of rabies and reduce the number of free-roaming dogs.
Caroline Yates, CEO, The Mayhew Animal Home says: “We are delighted that the Kabul Municipality is moving towards a sustainable rabies control programme that will eliminate rabies and save both people’s and dogs lives as well as offer a humane solution to controlling the dog population. The Mayhew does not support inhumane methods of controlling the spread of the rabies virus and dog populations and believes that the mass culling of animals, simply to remove them from the streets, is cruel, ineffective and not sustainable. “
“Our NGO presence in Afghanistan gives us a solid foundation from which to launch, manage and expand our proposed programmes. Our vision for the humane treatment and improvement in welfare for Afghanistan’s free-roaming dogs combined with an effective rabies prevention programme that will save lives can be achieved by working closely with Afghanistan’s Government, local authorities and organisations. This is a major step towards making our vision a reality.”
“We also believe that educating communities is the key to spreading the word about rabies prevention, safe interaction with community dogs, compassion towards animals and the benefits of neutering. For several years we have funded community education and a rabies vaccination programme in Ranchi, India that has so far vaccinated over 50,000 dogs in 8 years and educated over 270,000 children and adults. The rabies vaccination programme has been successful and there has been a huge reduction in the number of recorded cases of canine-mediated rabies in humans in Ranchi City, with only 4 cases during the last two years. This is a proven result for a rabies prevention model we want to achieve in Kabul, collaborating with other organisations.”
During 2016, Dr. Mohammadzai DVM met with key government officials, agencies and Dr. Ayubi, the Dean of the Veterinary Faculty at Kabul University, to discuss The Mayhew’s animal welfare strategy and rabies prevention programme. Dr. Mohammadzai presented the project and findings to the Ministry of Agriculture and representatives of the World Health Organisation, the Food & Agricultural Organisation of United Nations and Rabies in Asia Foundation. These organisations have subsequently formed a Rabies Action Committee, which includes The Mayhew, and are all in favour of the programme progressing to the next stage and are in agreement that the present culling of street dogs should cease before the programme is initiated.
The Mayhew has been working in Afghanistan since 2001. Over the years, Dr. Mohammadzai DVM has provided extensive veterinary training for vets and vet students at Kabul University Veterinary Faculty and also for the Afghan Stray Animal League and Nowzad since The Mayhew gave the very first assistance to them back in 2006.
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