Popular holiday destination Mauritius may be one step closer to leaving dog culling in its history books as animal charity Humane Society International opens up the island’s first ever dedicated spay-and-neuter clinic, sparing the lives of thousands of street dogs.
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
Some 150,000 British tourists holiday to the paradise island each year, including stars such as Jodie Kidd, Pixie Lott, Alexa Chung, Pixie Geldof and Great British Bake Off’s Paul Hollywood. However, many tourists leave distraught after discovering the brutal programme used to control the population of an estimated quarter of a million dogs on Mauritius.
Roaming the streets and beaches, the dogs are sometimes considered a nuisance to wealthy holiday makers. And with limited access to veterinary services, most owners leave their dogs unsterilised – meaning thousands of puppies are born on the streets each year. Around 2,000 dogs are killed every month, as part of the government’s misguided attempt at reducing numbers.
This involves catching dogs in nets and killing them with a lethal injection to the heart. HSI hope to break the cycle with early intervention, opening a free spay-and-neuter clinic and mobile facility that will run initially for one year, and will demonstrate the effectiveness it has compared to the current answer to over-population.
Alan Knight OBE, CEO of 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.”
The humane programme is 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 Marching Animal Welfare Trust. The luxury beach-side hotel LUX Belle Mare has also teamed up with HSI to facilitate the spay-and-neuter programme for any dogs on hotel property, as well continuing to support adoption programs, education and awareness talks, providing incentives for staff to send their dogs to HSI’s clinic.
Les Ward MBE, from the Marchig Animal Welfare Trust said, “We are confident that the clinic, if operated and managed unhindered by HSI, will clearly demonstrate an effective and ethical way to control dog populations rather than the previous Government programme where large numbers of dogs were killed.
“In addition, 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. 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.”
Street dog overpopulation occurs in many countries around the world, and too often local authorities implement sporadic mass culls where dogs are killed. HSI’s humane street dog teams work with governments around the world to provide spay/neuter and community education programmes across India, the Philippines, Guyana, Mexico, Bangladesh, Nepal and First Nations communities in Canada.
Rahul Sehgal, HSI’s senior 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 may otherwise have had an unhappy ending.”
Images courtesy of HSI