Kerala Media to Proactively Pursue Comprehensive Dog-Bite Prevention Initiatives Say Prominent Public Figures in a Workshop with the Media

Trivandrum, 29th June 2017: Prominent public personalities in Kerala- Dr. NN Sasi (Director, Animal Husbandry, Government of Kerala), Mr. Gouridasan Nair (Chief of Bureau, Hindu), Mr. John Mary (Resident Editor, Deccan Chronicle) and Dr. Annie Verghese(PhD in veterinary surgery and senior veterinary surgeon in the Animal Husbandry department) urged the government of Kerala to undertake comprehensive dog-bite prevention measures in addition to Animal Birth Control (ABC). They also urged the media to remain neutral and objective in its reportage of this issue, and invited it to be a part of the solution-finding process.

In a 3-hour long solution-finding workshop before the media, these personalities discussed how people used to co-exist with street animals earlier, and the cultural and social factors that played a part in changing that. The government representative also spoke of various initiatives that are being undertaken in the state to counter human-dog conflict, and discussed the details of their ABC programme. They also spoke of initiatives other than ABC that ought to be implemented simultaneously – such as education programmes on dog-bite prevention in schools, vaccination of street dogs against rabies, and counseling of dog-bite victims. Most importantly, they emphasized the responsibility of the
media to cover both sides of the issue in an objective an unbiased manner, and to proactively be a part of the solution.

Varda Mehrotra, Director, FIAPO, said “FIAPO is honored to have organised such a workshop in Kerala. It brings the much-needed voices of public figures to the forefront of this issue. A holistic resolution of the street dog issue needs to include education and awareness in schools, vaccination of street-dogs against rabies and counseling of dog-bite victims in hospitals and affected communities. FIAPO has proposals for
the same at different stages with the government, and we are very glad that prominent personalities from Kerala are also actively speaking up about the issue. With this workshop, we hope the media will track the progress of these solutions and give them adequate coverage as well”.
At the moment, there are several initiatives that are in progress for combating human-dog conflict.

Animal Birth Control (ABC) is conducted by the government at the district level, along with vaccination against rabies. An exclusive vaccination programme for street dogs has been started by the Trivandrum Corporation. Local NGOs have also organized successful adoption drives for street dogs, which shows that the people of Kerala do enjoy the companionship that desi dogs provide. These along with the FIAPO’s initiatives of education in all schools, and counseling of dog-bite victims make for a comprehensive list of initiatives to manage human-dog conflict.

Date : 29 June 2017