Indian Kashmir to Poison 100,000 Dogs
Authorities in Indian Kashmir have begun poisoning
stray dogs in an anti-rabies drive that aims to kill some 100,000
dogs in the region's main city, officials said Thursday.
Animal rights activists vowed to go to court to stop
the slaughter planned by Srinagar city, saying it is an illegal
and cruel solution to a problem that could be better addressed
with other methods.
With the world's highest rabies fatality rate, India has grappled
with ways to control the millions of stray dogs that live on its
In Srinagar, city officials vowed to press ahead with the plan
already under way to poison strays with strychnine.
"These dogs have become a big nuisance and they are threatening
humans," said Dr. Riyaz Ahmad, the Srinagar city health officer
who is organizing the killing.
It was not clear Thursday how many dogs have already been killed.
Animal activists said they would try to stop the poisoning drive,
said Javaid Iqbal Shah, the deputy head of the Srinagar Society
to Prevent Cruelty to Animals.
Shah said using strychnine was particularly cruel, causing terrible
suffering to the dogs, crippling their nervous systems and choking
"I have seen children cry when they pass by these dying dogs," he
Shah said he had proposed the city sterilize strays instead but
acknowledged that his organization had only managed to neuter 400
dogs in the last two years.
India accounts for more than 60 percent of the world's estimated
35,000 annual rabies deaths, according to the World Health Organization,
and stray dogs are often blamed.
In some areas,
dogs form feral packs that have attacked people. However, other
are "community pets," semi-tame
animals who are cared for and fed by local residents.
Other cities have struggled unsuccessfully to curb the stray-dog
problem, with a variety of solutions.
India's high-tech hub of Bangalore called off a drive to slaughter
strays amid allegations that untrained workers were stoning, strangling
and beating the dogs to death.
In New Delhi, one city councilor suggested shipping the country's
strays to Korea, where dog meat is considered a delicacy.