The Importance of Humane Management and Animal Welfare in Rabies Elimination Programs

WSAVA webinars to highlight the work of key stakeholders to prioritize welfare on World Rabies Day

September 28 at 08:00 AM and 12:00 PM UTC

The World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) will bring together stakeholders and experts, including the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE); the Global Alliance for Rabies Control (GARC) and World Animal Protection to discuss the importance of humane management and animal welfare in the global fight against rabies to mark this year’s World Rabies Day, Monday September 28.

The webinars will explore the welfare, management and One Health issues to be considered when developing rabies control programs.  They will also highlight the importance of collaboration between stakeholders to achieve the United Against Rabies (WHO, FAO, OIE, GARC)-led campaign to end human deaths from dog-mediated rabies by 2030. ‘End Rabies: Collaborate, Vaccinate’ is the strapline for this year’s World Rabies Day.

In the first webinar, timed to suit veterinarians and animal health professionals in Asia and Oceania, speakers include Dr Matthew Stone, Deputy Director General, International Standards and Science at the OIE; Dr Sarah Jayme, GARC’s Asia Representative and Dr Natasha Lee, Vice Chair of the WSAVA’s Animal Wellness and Welfare Committee. Dr Rey del Napoles from WSAVA member Philippine Animal Hospital Association will present a case study of its rabies control initiatives, followed by Dr Luuk Schoonman, Chief Technical Advisor, FAO in Indonesia, who will discuss its rabies programs in Bali.  Following the webinar, Dr Jayme and Dr Lee will participate in a live Q&A.

Dr Stone will also participate in the second webinar, timed to suit veterinarians and animal health professionals in Europe, Africa and the Americas.  The other speakers include Dr Sarah Cleaveland, a member of the WSAVA’s One Health Committee, and Dr Melania Gamboa, advisor to World Animal Protection in Costa Rica. Dr Rauna Athingo from WSAVA member the Veterinary Association of Namibia, will present a case study of its recent rabies control programs.  Dr Cleaveland and Dr Gamboa will participate in the live Q&A.

Dr Shane Ryan, WSAVA President, who will host the webinars, said: “In a year dominated by COVID-19, it’s easy to forget that rabies, a much-neglected disease, still kills more than 60,000 people a year, many of them children.

“We hope discussions during our webinars will help to share best practice, particularly in the important areas of humane management and welfare.  We also hope that they will inspire veterinary professionals around the world to participate in initiatives to control the disease and give them a deeper understanding of the welfare and One Health issues involved.

“We thank our speakers and look forward to a lively Q&A at the end of each webinar.”

The WSAVA represents more than 200,000 veterinarians worldwide through its 113 member associations and works to enhance standards of clinical care for companion animals.  Its core activities include the development of WSAVA Global Guidelines in key areas of veterinary practice, including pain management, nutrition and vaccination, together with lobbying on important issues affecting companion animal care worldwide.