China may push vaccination
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, October 2003:
BEIJING–Appalled by the dog-killing they recently witnessed
in eight provinces of southern China, officials of the China Health
Ministry and Agriculture Ministry are recommending that future rabies
control efforts should focus on vaccination, a well-placed source
told ANIMAL PEOPLE on October 10, 2003.
The China Daily on September 3 blamed “the increasing number
of dogs and mismanagement of the canine population, including
insufficient and improprer vaccination against rabies” for the
deaths of 550 people in the first six months of 2003, 90 more than
in the first six months of 2002.
The most rabies deaths occurred in Guangdong: 74 total, 46
of them in the Maoming area. As many as 60,000 dogs were reportedly
killed in a futile effort to contain the outbreak, which closely
followed the SARS panic. At least 12 more Guangdong residents,
including six children, died from rabies in August.
“Although there is demand for dog meat, only 20% of the dogs
in Guangdong have been vaccinated against rabies,” Agence
France-Presse noted, hinting thereby that the outbreak involved the
dog meat farms and markets.
Earlier ANIMAL PEOPLE observed that the scale of the killing
was far greater than was claimed during previous purges of pet dogs,
and speculated that rabies had emerged at the dog meat farms and
Relaying up-to-date information about vaccination to Chinese
health officials and news media, as described in the October 2003
editorial (page 3), ANIMAL PEOPLE may have helped to avert a dog
massacre that reporters told us was planned in Henan province in
early September. Ostensibly meant to prevent the spread of rabies,
the killing was to exempt dog meat farms and markets on the pretense
that the unvaccinated dogs meant for human consumption were already
“quarantined” in close confinement.
ANIMAL PEOPLE raised the possibility that the planned
massacre was actually intended to discourage keeping dogs as pets,
which could be expected to raise sympathy for dogs raised as meat.
ANIMAL PEOPLE was told that Henan then denied having planned
to kill dogs. Whether any dogs were killed could not be confirmed
from the available sources.