Canadian animal lovers fight rabies worldwide with Collars Not Cruelty

Campaign saves animals, protects communities, and prevents human infection

TORONTO, Oct. 16, 2013 /CNW/ - Canadian animal lovers from all walks of life are supporting international efforts to eradicate rabies by having their pets sport a red collar or by making a donation to the World Society for the Protection of Animals' (WSPA) Collars Not Cruelty campaign. High profile Canadian and international supporters include fashion designer David Dixon, singer Leona Lewis, comedian Ricky Gervais, supermodel Liisa Winkler, and provincial and federal MPPs and MPs.

Launched in 2011, the Collars Not Cruelty campaign is a global initiative to establish humane dog vaccination programs in countries where dogs are killed in response to rabies outbreaks or fear of rabies.  So far, the campaign has saved more than 300,000 dogs from cruel and unnecessary deaths.  WSPA works with local authorities to set up clinics where dogs are vaccinated and given a bright red collar so the community knows they are safe.  Successful vaccination clinics have been launched in Sri Lanka, Latin America, Bali, Bangladesh, the Philippines and Indonesia. Most recently, WSPA started vaccination programs in Africa and China, where human deaths from rabies are the most common.

Rabies can be controlled through mass vaccination programs.  In 1983, Latin America committed to eliminating rabies through mass dog vaccination. Vaccination programs have seen dog rabies cases in the region decline from a peak of 25,000 in 1977 to just 196 in 2011 - a decrease of over 99 per cent.  These results have encouraged other governments and communities to undertake similar programs.


"When confronted with a rabies outbreak, governments begin killing the dog population to try and stop the spread.  We know this is ineffective and cruel," said Josey Kitson, Executive Director of WSPA Canada.  "Animal culls do not prevent the spread of rabies, but with mass vaccination and community education, rabies is 100% preventable.  A world without rabies doesn't have to be a world without dogs."

"As a dog lover, it breaks my heart that millions of innocent animals are killed needlessly out of fear," said fashion designer and campaign supporter David Dixon.  "I'm proud to support a campaign that enables local animal lovers to save dogs across the globe."


  • This year, more than 55,000 people will die of rabies and over 20 million dogs will be cruelly killed in misguided attempts to stop the spread of the disease.
  • Rabies costs approximately $6 billion USD a year worldwide.  A fraction of that investment can vaccinate the dog population to the immunity level necessary to prevent the spread of the disease (70 per cent of the pack).
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) has described such vaccination campaigns as "globally, the most cost-effective strategy for preventing rabies in people".


About the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA)

The World Society for the Protection of Animals has worked to expose animal cruelty and prevent animal suffering for more than 30 years.  Working with individuals, organizations and governments across the globe, our campaign work ranges from putting animals at the heart of farming to protecting animals in disasters.  Consultative status with the United Nations means we have a unique international platform to prove that the lives of animals are inextricably linked to our own, and now more than ever is the time to stop their suffering.


SOURCE: World Society for the Protection of Animals

For further information:

For more information or to schedule an interview: 

Sarbjit Kaur
Argyle Communications

Erin Cochrane
Argyle Communications
416-968-7311 ext. 249

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World Society for the Protection of Animals

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