Thousands of street dogs in Mauritius spared horrific lethal cull as campaigners open new spay/neuter clinic on ‘paradise’ island

Campaigners and Mauritius government unite in bid to end decades of dog culling

Humane Society International


Mauritius—The government of the paradise holiday island of Mauritius is suspending a brutal cull of thousands of dogs as part of a partnership agreement with animal campaigners Humane Society International which sees the charity open the island’s first dedicated spay and neuter clinic, to sterilise up to 10,000 owned and roaming dogs. The clinic, run by HSI in conjunction with the Mauritian government’s Ministry of Agro Industry and Food Security, and with funding from International Animal Rescue and the Marchig Trust, will reduce the island’s dog population without cruelty and killing.

There is an estimated quarter of a million dogs on Mauritius, most of them owned but free to roam the streets and beaches where they can be considered a nuisance to the island’s wealthy holiday makers. Thousands of puppies are born on the streets each year because most dog owners don’t sterilise their dogs. In an attempt to curb the growing population, the government has been sanctioning the killing of around 2,000 dogs every month. In 2016 this horror was caught on camera. The release of disturbing footage showing dogs being caught in nets and brutally killedbecame the watershed moment that led to a new initiative between HSI and the government of Mauritius.

Rahul Sehgal, HSI’s senior co-director of companion animals, said: “The people of Mauritius love their dogs but many simply don’t have access to local veterinary care to prevent endless puppies being born, and responsible dog ownership has never been taught in communities. So we are really thrilled to have opened our free spay and neuter clinic here in Mauritius, specifically in Belle Mare, in the District of Flacq, plus our mobile clinic that will travel to more remote areas or bring our services to those without transport. Already we’re treating hundreds of gorgeous dogs who otherwise could easily have died a painful death in the cull. The terrible cruelty of dog culling is totally at odds with Mauritius’s paradise island image, but it also simply doesn’t work as a way to control dog numbers in the long term. We’re hoping our program can be the beginning of the end of dog culling on this beautiful island.”

The HSI-staffed spay/neuter clinic will run initially for one year, during which time dog culling in the area has been suspended. The purpose of this one-year pilot is for the HSI team to demonstrate how a well-run humane program can reduce dog numbers and could be expanded to cover the entire island.

Alan Knight from International Animal Rescue said: “We have actively opposed the brutal killing of dogs in Mauritius for many years. The spay and neuter clinic will spare the lives of thousands of dogs and we hope also lay the foundations for a new compassionate era when dog killing on the island is a thing of the past and sterilisation is the norm.”

Les Ward from the Marchig Trust said: “We’re delighted to support this project, and entirely confident that it will clearly demonstrate that mass culling of dogs is never an effective or ethical way to control dog populations. We have heard from many people who had gone to Mauritius expecting the holiday of a lifetime, only to end up distraught at the barbaric treatment of dogs on the streets and beaches. By supporting island communities to care for and interact with their dogs responsibly, HSI is giving both people and dogs the best chance for a peaceful and cruelty-free co-existence.”

Street dog overpopulation occurs in many countries around the world, and too often local authorities implement sporadic mass culls where dogs are poisoned, beaten to death, shot, electrocuted, drowned, starved and even hung. As well as being exceptionally cruel, culls are ultimately ineffective because although they produce immediate results, over time they simply provide a vacuum in the local dog population to be filled by more breeding and other dogs moving in to the area.

HSI’s humane street dog teams work with governments around the world to end these cruel and pointless culls, providing spay/neuter and community education programmes across India, the Philippines, Guyana, Mexico, Bangladesh, Nepal and First Nations communities in Canada. A strong educational and human behaviour change component is central to HSI’s work, as is training local veterinarians in surgical skills.

ENDS

Media contact: Mauritius: Humane Society International—Carla Prayag: cprayag@hsi.org Tel: +230 5498 9514