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  • PRESS RELEASE: 1st International Conference on Dog Population Management, 4-8 September 2012
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PRESS RELEASE: 1st International Conference on Dog Population Management, 4-8 September 2012

21 August 2012

There are around 600 million dogs in the world, a significant proportion of which are regarded as stray or feral. While dogs play an important role as companion and work animals in society, these stray dogs are often responsible for attacks on people, livestock and wildlife and can be a source of disease such as rabies. For example, almost all of the tens of thousands of human deaths from rabies each year are caused by dog bites.

The risks posed by these stray dogs have been an issue that governments and societies have dealt with in a variety of ways, many of them regarded as inhumane. Most of the population control methods used are aimed at achieving immediate results, rather than long-term, publicly-acceptable solutions.

An inaugural international conference, hosted by The Food and Environment Research Agency (Fera) from 4th to 8th September 2012, will bring together policy makers, ecologists, economists and specialists in animal welfare, animal health and education to discuss humane and sustainable dog population management, a challenge increasingly being faced in many countries around the world.

The conference is co-organised by: Fera; the World Health Organisation; the World Organisation for Animal Health; the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals; the World Society for the Protection of Animals; the International Fund for Animal Welfare; and the Humane Society International.

The conference will take place at Fera’s main site near York in the UK and will facilitate discussion and information sharing on topics such as dog ecology and population dynamics, dog welfare, options for effective dog population management, and public and professional education.

For more information, and to register, please see www.dogpopulationmanagement2012.co.uk


ENDS

Notes for Editors:

1.   
The key aims of the conference are:
-   To facilitate discussions and sharing of information on dog population management and international standards among stakeholders;
-   To promote awareness of novel technologies, such as immunocontraception, vaccine delivery systems and software for dog population management;
-   To encourage inter-sectoral collaboration, innovation and policy development, particularly in the context of rabies control
-   To provide evidence-based information for effective, humane dog population management;
-   To promote animal and human health and wellbeing by reducing the incidence of zoonoses and the environmental impacts associated with dog population control.

2.    The Food and Environment Research Agency (Fera) is an Executive Agency of the UK Government’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). Its remit is to provide robust evidence, rigorous analysis and expert professional advice to government, international organisations and the private sector, in order to support and develop a sustainable and secure food chain, a healthy natural environment, and to protect the global community from biological and chemical risks.

3.    The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) is an intergovernmental organisation with a mandate from its 178 Members to improve animal health worldwide. The OIE is recognized as the reference standard-setting international organization for animal health by the World Trade Organisation. It is responsible for ensuring transparency of the animal disease situation worldwide, including diseases transmissible to humans, as well as safeguarding the safety of world trade in animals and animal products and ensuring food safety. Since 2000 the organisation also adopts and publishes international standards on animal welfare, including dog population management.

4.    The World Health Organization (WHO) is the directing and coordinating authority for health within the United Nations system. It is responsible for providing leadership on global health matters, shaping the health research agenda, setting norms and standards, articulating evidence-based policy options, providing technical support to countries and monitoring and assessing health trends.

5.    RSPCA International works across Europe, East Asia and southern Africa for the benefit of animals and people in society, agriculture, industry and the environment. Its works with local partners on a wide range of animal welfare issues relating to companion animals, farm animals, wildlife and laboratory animals including the provision of customised training courses and emergency response when disaster strikes. It offers training and advice on dog population management, shelter management and humane dog handling techniques, working with a range of stakeholders from animal shelter staff to competent authorities, including governments and state veterinary services. RSPCA International implements OIE (World Organisation for Animal Health) standards including those on stray dog population control and is a member of the International Companion Animal Management Coalition (ICAM) which seeks to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of companion animal population management through collaboration.

6.    The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) is the leading global animal welfare organisation www.wspa-international.org. We work to end the suffering of billions of animals around the world. We passionately believe that animal welfare matters and animal cruelty must end; whether that’s animals in the wild, living in a community, caught up in a disaster or being farmed.

We run Red Collar; a global campaign demanding an end to the needless and cruel killing of dogs in response to rabies.  We want all governments affected by rabies to run mass dog vaccination programmes, the only proven solution to control rabies,. saving both animal and human lives.

Founded thirty years ago, WSPA works in Latin America, North America, Europe, Asia Pacific and Africa. We campaign to secure real and lasting change. We will change the relationship between animals and people demonstrating that animal welfare plays a part in solving some of the biggest problems we face in the world today; from protecting livelihoods of people in poor communities to improving health and having an impact on climate change.

For media inquiries contact Helen Ashley Tel 07772 296256 helenashley@wspa-international.org

7.    The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) was founded in 1969, IFAW saves animals in crisis around the world. With projects in more than 40 countries, IFAW rescues individual animals, works to prevent cruelty to animals, and advocates for the protection of wildlife and habitats. For more information, visit www.ifaw.org. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

8.    Humane Society International is the international arm of The Humane Society of the United States. For nearly 20 years, HSI has been working for the protection of all animals through the use of science, advocacy, education and hands-on programs. For more information visit hsi.org.

Further information from:
Media Officer: Alison Wilson
Tel: 01904 462380
Email: alison.wilson@fera.gsi.gov.uk
The Food and Environment Research Agency, Sand Hutton, York, YO41 1LZ