Your support gives dogs better lives and prevents rabies

12/09/2022

World Rabies Day, on September 28th, is a day to raise awareness about rabies prevention and to promote humane treatment and effective vaccines.

Rabies is a preventable viral disease affecting both humans and dogs. It is most often transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal. While cases of rabid dogs are rare in North America, dog rabies remains common in many countries.  

Exposure to rabid dogs is the cause of over 90% of human exposures to rabies and of 99% of human rabies deaths worldwide. Each year, rabies causes approximately 59,000 human deaths worldwide.  

Historically, the world has focused on treating rabies in humans, rather than on eliminating it. However, there is overwhelming evidence that control of dog rabies through animal vaccination programs and humane dog population management (I.e., spay and neuter programs) can reduce the incidence of human rabies. 

When 70% of the dog population is vaccinated, it can prevent a major outbreak of rabies

World Animal Protection estimates that more than 10 million dog lives are cruelly lost every year due to rabies or the human fear of rabies. That is approximately 170 dogs killed for every one human death from rabies. 

This is why we have worked tirelessly over the last decade to provide support and run vaccination clinics across the globe to prevent rabies outbreaks.  

With your support, we can end rabies for good by 2030 to protect all dogs and humans from this horrific disease. 

How has your support helped dogs this past decade?  

  • You helped vaccinate nearly 2 million dogs across 18 countries on 3 continents, saving countless people and animals from the horror of rabies without the unnecessary cruelty of culling.  
  • You united 64 countries to protect dogs. Together we persuaded both the African Union and the Association for Southeast Asian Nations to agree to action plans for rabies elimination which include mass dog vaccinations and humane dog population management initiatives. This work continues today in a mass effort to eliminate rabies by 2030. 
  • You supported research and education programs to promote responsible pet ownership and dog bite prevention to people of all ages in 16 countries. This includes our reports on Controlling rabies and Humane dog management as well as tips to prevent dog bites and the happy dog guide. Our work inspired the Beijing Animal Disease Control Center to produce a dog-and-children-friendly curriculum for students aged 7–9 years old.

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Children holding up a World Animal Protection book about dogs

Bruno, one of the lucky dogs you helped vaccinate  

In 2016, at just five months old, Bruno became our #oneluckydog of our Better Lives for Dogs campaign in Kenya.  

Bruno represented the millionth dog to receive a rabies vaccination, in our work to end the mass culling of dogs through vaccination and education against rabies. 

Thanks to your generosity, she spent her days playing with other dogs, and using her natural instincts to protect her family and their farm from squirrels and other intruders.

When we went back to visit Bruno in 2018, not only did she have a new companion — Simba, but her owner Joseph had become a community health volunteer. He continues to educate his neighbors about responsible dog ownership, with an emphasis on dog vaccination.  

Because of Joseph, more and more people take their dogs to get vaccinated and bring home a vaccination card, which is a great source of pride. In the end, this helped relationships between dogs and the community.  

It is only fitting that our final ask to supporters to give to our hands on work be about helping dogs like Bruno in Kenya. 

A man holding his pet dog
Photo: World Animal Protection / Georgina Goodwin

How will we be helping dogs in the future?  

Our new 10-year strategy is an ambitious one. With your support we will address the root causes of animal cruelty, which means taking on the big, entrenched systems that fuel the very worst animal abuse.  

This means our focus will be stopping wild animals being cruelly exploited as commodities by changing the systems that fuel their exploitation and ensuring that farmed animals live good lives by transforming the global food system.  

Still, we know that ensuring that community dogs are protected from cruelty is critical. With your help we will support and fund our respected coalition partners to spearhead this vital work.  

Our key role in the International Companion Animal Management Coalition (ICAM) will help ensure dogs are managed humanely and protected from violence or abuse. This includes protection from horrific culls. With your support we will remain part of the United Against Rabies Collaboration (UARC) and its Forum. Through this, we will continue to call for a global end to the transmission of dog-mediated rabies by 2030 and will work with UARC to help ensure the United Against Rabies Forum effectively achieves this goal. 

World Animal Protection staff looking over two dogs

In August 2020, World Animal Protection visited the Kenya Society for the Protection and Care of Animals (KSPCA), to give donations to the community animals hosted in the facility.(Photo: World Animal Protection)