Target: Bali Governor Made Mangku Pastika
Goal: End mass dog culling in favor of more responsible disease control measures
Since 2008, there have been 147 deaths caused by rabies in Bali, leading the government to conduct mass dog killings. Sadly, the recent and impressive dip in rabies deaths in Bali has done nothing to dissuade the government from continuing to kill stray dogs. In fact, the Jakarta Post reports Bali Governor Made Mangku Pastika told staff “If any stray dogs are found, feel free to eliminate them” and “there is no need to catch them. Put them in a shelter or something. Just cull them.”
In response to the government-sanctioned culls, local animal rights groups began hugely successful vaccination programs. The Balinese Government has itself vaccinated some 300,000 dogs. The official policy, according to the Bali Animal Husbandry Department chief Putu Sumantra is to vaccinate and locate the dog’s owners before killing them. That task proves very difficult in a place where dogs rarely “belong” to one person, but are often tolerated and fed by whole communities or were previously owned and have been abandoned.
The vaccinations have been so successful that, of the 147 deaths in the past six years, only ten of these occurred in the last two years. These rates seem to have no impact on the government’s attitude towards loose dogs, however. On an island with a population comparable to the city of Los Angeles, Bali kills more than twelve times as many dogs per year.
Governor Pastika stands firmly in favor of the killings, hoping to save Bali’s tourism industry from the backlash of a rabies scare, and insists on taking any measures necessary. The time, energy and money spent euthanizing these creatures is at least comparable to vaccinating them. Though stray animals worldwide are euthanized, the government of Bali has a particularly disturbing attitude toward these innocent lives.
Urge the end of mass culling in Bali and support effective vaccination, spaying and neutering instead.
Dear Governor Pastika,
With 147 deaths in six years, Bali faces a very real threat from rabies. Despite the island’s already massive dog population, citizens are importing dogs and often abandoning them, seriously increasing the risk of the dogs spreading the disease. Though the threat of rabies is a legitimate concern, mass dog culling surely is not the only option.
In fact, the government has conducted some 300,000 hugely successful vaccinations along with animal rights groups and deaths related to rabies have dropped to only ten since 2012. Strict enforcement of a moratorium on pet importation, along with the spaying, neutering and vaccination of strays would solve Bali’s stray dog problem.
I urge you to take a more responsible course of action to stem rabies in Bali and end mass dog killings.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: olnnu via Wikimedia Commons