COLLARS NOT CRUELTY in the fight against rabies

WSPA's global campaign to protect dogs and communities from this deadly disease

Watch the Collars Not Cruelty video
See why Ricky Gervais is supporting WSPA's Collars Not Cruelty campaign

TORONTO, Sept. 26, 2012 /CNW/ - One year since the launch of the Collars Not Cruelty campaign and the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) is proving that compassion and vaccination works - to protect dogs, safeguard communities and stop rabies1.

Around the world, people and dogs live together.  In some communities however, that bond is being tested.  Every year more than 55,000 people die from rabies - a 100% preventable disease. Twenty million dogs are also brutally killed every year and fear of rabies is often used as the excuse. That's 38 dogs killed every minute. People think it will stop rabies. It doesn't.

"When confronted with the problem of this fast-spreading disease, governments sometimes turn to what they believe is the only way to wipe out rabies: wipe out the dog population" said Ray Mitchell, International Director of Campaigns, WSPA.

Through the Collars Not Cruelty campaign, WSPA works with local partners and authorities to stop the killing of dogs and instead set up vaccination clinics.  The dogs are vaccinated against rabies and given a bright red collar so the community knows these dogs are safe; preventing them from being killed and protecting everyone from rabies.  

"I'm backing WSPA's Collars Not Cruelty campaign, to help end the unnecessary deaths of million dogs, killed every year, because of our fear of rabies" says comedian and WSPA spokesperson Ricky Gervais. "WSPA is calling on governments and communities everywhere to replace killing with mass vaccination programs" says Gervais.

WSPA has a history of protecting dogs against cruelty and rabies; they have launched successful mass vaccination programs in Sri Lanka, Latin America, Bangladesh and Bali. "In Bali, WSPA saved more than 300,000 dogs from being killed and the mass vaccination of the dog population led to a significant drop in human rabies cases as well2" says WSPA Canada Executive Director, Josey Kitson.  "Vaccination is the only scientifically proven3, humane and sustainable way to combat rabies in dogs and people" says Kitson.

Since the launch of the Collars Not Cruelty campaign last year, WSPA has been working with partners in Cox's Bazar and Dhaka City, Bangladesh to vaccinate tens of thousands of dogs.  To celebrate World Rabies Day this year (Friday September 28), WSPA is proud to announce a partnership with the Bangladesh government on a national action plan to stamp out rabies across that country and end the unnecessary killing of dogs due to rabies for good.

WSPA is also rolling out vaccination programs in the Philippines and Indonesia in partnership with the Global Alliance for Rabies Control and national governments. With the help of supporters and policymakers WSPA is creating a world where collars, not cruelty are winning the fight against rabies and where dogs and humans can live side-by-side once again.

Facts and Figures for the Collars Not Cruelty campaign

  1. Vaccinating the dog population is the most important action a country can take to interrupt the spread of rabies in dogs and humans.  99% of all human rabies deaths are caused by bites from an infected dog.
  2. In partnership with the Balinese government, WSPA launched an island-wide vaccination program in 2010.  In the first six months of the project, they saw rabies cases down by 45% in dogs and 48% in humans.
  3. All leading organizations committed to controlling rabies, including the World Health Organization, the World Organization for Animal Health, the Pan American Health Organization and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, agree that killing dogs doesn't control rabies in dogs and therefore has no impact on reducing the incidence of rabies in humans.

About the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA)
WSPA (World Society for the Protection of Animals) is the world's leading animal welfare charity. We have been protecting animals around the world for over 30 years. We passionately believe that animal welfare matters.

At WSPA we will always expose and oppose the exploitation and suffering of animals. We believe animal cruelty must end, whether that animal is in the wild, living in the community, caught up in a disaster, or being farmed.

Today, WSPA works in over 50 countries, collaborating with local communities, NGOs and governments that can help us change animals' lives for the better. We also act for animals at a global level, using our United Nations consultative status to give them a voice.

We work responsibly and sustainably, to put animal welfare on the global agenda and show that what's good for animals is good for the world.

For more information about WSPA visit www.wspa.ca; follow us on Twitter or 'Like' us on Facebook.

Image with caption: "After an outbreak of rabies on Bali the government responded by killing dogs. WSPA began the Collars Not Cruelty campaign to stop the killing and instead vaccinate dogs. Miko wears a red collar showing that he has been vaccinated - protecting him and his community from rabies. (CNW Group/World Society for the Protection of Animals)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20120926_C9676_PHOTO_EN_18500.jpg

Image with caption: "Actor, writer and comedian Ricky Gervais has given support to WSPA on several campaigns. Here Gervais, with rescue dog Barney, is helping WSPA spread the word about the Collars Not Cruelty campaign. (CNW Group/World Society for the Protection of Animals)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20120926_C9676_PHOTO_EN_18501.jpg

Image with caption: "Download this infographic from WSPA with facts and figures related to their Collars Not Cruelty campaign. (CNW Group/World Society for the Protection of Animals)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20120926_C9676_PHOTO_EN_18502.jpg

SOURCE: World Society for the Protection of Animals

For further information:

For more information, images and interviews please contact:

Elizabeth Sharpe, Communications Manager, WSPA: Tel: (416) 369-0044 x111; Cell: (647) 268-8122; Email: sharpe@wspa.ca

Visit our media centre for downloadable images, videos, infographics and case studies.

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