Apprehensive over the spread of rabies, Yilan County Councilor Lin Chyi-shan of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) has requested that the opportunity be used to kill all wild dogs, and condones the use of guns for doing so. Animal protection groups have called him out for his erroneous way of thinking and for being cruel. Yilan County’s Animal and Plant Disease Control Center said that at present no stray dogs or cats have contracted rabies, making an increase in the capturing and killing of the animals unwarranted. Later Lin explained that he meant anesthesia guns should be used.
The Yilan County Council’s KMT caucus on July 31 invited county government agencies to give a report on methods for preventing and controlling rabies. Animal and Plant Disease Control Center director Chen Wen-chin said that Yilan will open all 137 of its designated locations for supplying rabies vaccine inoculations next week, adding that 5,000 doses will be arriving this week, which is enough to prevent an epidemic from occurring in the mountainous areas that will be blocked off and inoculated prior to moving to the flatlands.
The center said that until last week, four dead Formosan ferret-badgers had been found in Yilan, the first two of which had not infected with rabies. The two ferret-badgers found at Fushan Botanical Garden and Renshan Botanical Garden on July 29 are still being tested by the Council of Agriculture.
The Yilan County Public Health Bureau says that the county’s 35 doses of vaccine are located at Saint Mary’s Hospital, adding that this week more vaccinations will be made available at Poh Ai Hospital and National Yang-Ming University Hospital. Veterinarians are set to get the first round of vaccine, while wild animal control workers and dogcatchers will get the second round.
Lin says that this should be used as an opportunity to kill the numerous wild dogs that live in the area, saying that the use of guns is okay with him. Yilan County Council’s KMT caucus whip Lee Chih-yung says that the Asian house shrew is also being infected, calling on the public health bureau to have local district offices distribute rodenticide for the public.
Yilan County Stray Dog Care Association president Chin Huei-ling says that all warm-blooded mammals can be infected with rabies, not just stray dogs, so does that mean that all animals should be killed? The councilor’s way of thinking is misguided, she says, adding such irrational behavior would fail to teach future generations how to love and care for living creatures. The most concrete method for preventing the spread of the virus would be administering oral vaccines among stray dogs, Chin says.
(Liberty Times, Translated by Kyle Jeffcoat)