Bhutan Becomes First Country to Achieve 100% Dog Sterilization & Vaccination(6 photos)

The world's first nation, the Kingdom of Bhutan, has announced that all of its street dogs are properly vaccinated and sterilized. This announcement comes after years of funding a humane dog management program with international animal charity Humane Society International (HSI).

The Royal Government of Bhutan proclaimed this historic accomplishment for human health and animal welfare during the official conclusion ceremony of the National Dog Population Management and Rabies Control Project in the country's capital, Thimphu, which was chaired by Prime Minister Dr. Lotay Tshering.

In recognition of what he called HSI's "consistent and unwavering support" towards Bhutan's success in street dog welfare from the beginning in 2009 until its closure, Prime Minister Tshering gave HSI a plaque during the ceremony. This honored fifteen years of focused, intensive spay/neuter work and community engagement initiatives carried out by Bhutan in collaboration with HSI.

Over 150,000 street dogs have been vaccinated, sterilized, and 32,000 pet dogs have had microchips implanted since the project's commencement.

In addition to direct persecution and cruel culling, the 300 million street dogs in Asia struggle with malnutrition, untreated illnesses, parasite infections, transmissible malignancies, injuries from auto accidents, and more.

The danger of dog bites and the transmission of rabies can be increased by street dog populations that grow to unmanageable levels in the absence of efficient sterilization and vaccination programs. According to estimates from the World Health Organization, 59,000 people worldwide pass away from rabies each year, with dog bites accounting for the majority of cases in humans. Governments in Asia frequently use cruel techniques, such as mass sheltering and culling, to control street dogs.

The Bhutanese government contacted HSI in 2009 after realizing the problems with street dogs' social and animal welfare and wanting to help with a compassionate strategy to managing the nation's large canine population. In the nation's capital, HSI launched a trial program for dog spays, neuters, and vaccinations. Eventually, the National Dog Population Management and Rabies Control Project for Bhutan was created by expanding this effort over the entire country.

In the wake of the successful pilot, HSI provided high-volume, high-quality spay/neuter training to over 35 Bhutanese veterinarians and staff. Additionally, a community engagement project was incorporated into the program to raise public awareness of dog care and reduce human-dog conflict.

Prime Minister Tshering commended participants, including de-suups (community volunteers) from every dzongkhag (district) in Bhutan, for their accomplishments in capturing, vaccinating, and sterilizing street canines during the closing ceremony. "This might seem like a small step, but it will go a long way in nation building," stated Prime Minister Tshering. The initiative benefited from His Majesty's guidance. Without the thousands of de-suups, it would not have been possible to accomplish. This is a momentous occasion for the entire world as well as the country.

As someone who has worked closely with the Bhutan program since 2015, Keren Nazareth, senior director of companion animals and engagement at HSI/India, remarked, "HSI could not have found a more committed humane street dog management partner than the Royal Government of Bhutan." The Government has been dedicated from the beginning, which has allowed us to continuously enhance the program. It has been a lengthy road filled with learning and adjustment. We applaud the people of Bhutan for their remarkable achievement in making their country dog-friendly, which also greatly helps the surrounding areas.

It's an incredible accomplishment that, we think, paves the way for governments dealing with street dogs throughout Asia. Nazareth went on, "There are many lessons to be learnt from Bhutan, including its compassion and resolve to foster a more harmonious cohabitation for people and dogs.

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