Following an outbreak of rabies in Baoshan, Yunnan province, government officials initiated a massive campaign that slaughtered nearly 5,000 dogs, Xinhua News reported on Sunday.
The anti-rabies campaign killed 4,900 dogs and vaccinated 100,000 more. It came in response to the deaths of five people from rabies this summer in the city, and the increasing number of dog attacks in the area.
China is not squeamish when it comes to exterminating thousands of puppies for the good of public health. In 2006, another county in Yunnan massacred an unreal 50,000 pooches. Three years later, Hanzhong, Shaanxi sent 37,000 of them to doggy heaven, often by clubbing them to death.
While the numbers may seem horrific (because they are), rabies is a serious concern in China. According to the World Health Organization, China has the second-highest number of reported rabies cases in the world, and the disease has accounted for more than 2,000 Chinese deaths on average each year for the past decade.
In response, China administers the most rabies vaccinations in the world, 12 to 15 million doses a year. Through vaccinations and the occasional canine cull (and with help from the lovely residents of Yulin), China hopes to eliminate national rabies by 2025—joining Taiwan, which has had a grand total of one infected dog since 1959.
by Alex Linder
[Image by etersigni]