Chinese officials cancel dog cull in earthquake zone

Tuesday, June 3, 2008
(Chengdu, China – 3 June 2008) Dogs which survived the devastating earthquake in the Zun Dao township of Sichuan, China have a new lease on life after the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and local officials announced an agreement to end the cruel killing of dogs and instead address public health concerns through an IFAW sponsored anti-rabies vaccination and veterinary aid programme in the 20,000+ population.
“This agreement is a major breakthrough,” said Jackson Zee, IFAW rescue leader. “Chinese media have been filled with reports of people evacuating with their pets, being comforted by their pets, and even saved by their pets after their homes collapsed, so we are delighted to see this next step as local officials are acknowledging that humane care of dogs, cats and livestock can benefit both animals and people.”

After the devastating earthquake that claimed around 80,000 human lives, IFAW rushed close to £100,000 in aid and sourced over six tonnes of animal food for some of the hardest-hit areas within Sichuan province.

IFAW met with local government officials in Zun Dao and offered humane alternatives to the dog culls presently in effect in much of the devastated areas. Officials agreed to halt any dog culling operations in the area and are welcoming IFAW’s efforts to address the present public health concerns by conducting an anti-rabies vaccination and veterinary care programme in the area.

Accompanied by local veterinarians, IFAW began visiting villages immediately and on the first afternoon provided food, collars, leads and appropriate vaccinations for at least 50 family owned dogs. There are an estimated 4,000 owned dogs and 1,000 strays in Zun Dao and surrounding villages and relief efforts are expected to increase in the coming days.

In addition to the efforts in Zun Dao, IFAW has been providing humanitarian aid in the region by meeting some of the most basic and urgent needs. From cooking oil to laundry detergent, mosquito repellents and toys for children, these much-needed supplies are helping families get back on their feet and take care of their pets and backyard farm animals. Desperately needed supplies such as 100 water pumps, fencing, generators and other supplies have also been rushed to Mianyang to help rescue animals in advance of anticipated flooding while additional support has been given to the acclaimed Giant Panda Nature Reserve in Gansu province.

IFAW is appealing for public support to increase the amount of aid for animals and people in the earthquake region. To donate or view more information on current rescue efforts, visit www.ifaw.org.

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