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Wednesday June 19th, 2024

Animal Welfare Organisations taking over government’s role in dealing with stray dogs

ECONOMYNEXT- Sri Lanka’s street dog population keeps sky-rocketing as authorities fail to set clear policies and create systems for the eradication of rabies and mitigating overpopulation through sterilization, experts said.

“The national program for sterilization of dogs from 2008 up to now, continued through contract veterinarians. They would call for tenders and they give it over to a few vets,” Champa Fernando, secretary of the Kandy Association for Community Protection through Animal Welfare (KACPAW) told Economynext.

Fernando claimed that this system of sterilizing was inefficient and was corrupt.

“Sometimes the vets who are contracted to hold sterilization clinics just hold a single or two-day program and disappear without any aftercare and assistance to the community,” she said.

Sterilize; to bring down street dog population, it’s that easy

Most dog-owning families disregard vaccination and sterilization and end up dumping puppies on to the streets.

That is why the overpopulation of stray dogs in Sri Lanka has become an issue.

Animal Welfare Organizations (AWO) have taken over the government’s role in desperation.

Organizations like KACPAW, Justice for Animals etc. conducted Spay and Neuter programs even during the lockdown.

“These programs not only help animals but also the communities who bear the burden that comes with the rising number of stray dogs,” Tashiya Captain, Program Director of Justice for Animals charity organization said.

“Most of who come to our sterilization/vaccination clinics are from low-income households,” she said.

Some private sector companies have stepped in.

Abans Group, in a CSR initiative, recently funded a Spay-Neuter-Vaccinate program handled by Justice for Animals AWO to treat over 150 dogs and cats.

Justice for Animals have thus far neutered 2,353 animals and vaccinated 2,758 animals for this year.

“Ideally a Spay-Neuter-Vaccine program should be conducted once every three months and sometimes once a month in places with high stray dog numbers,” she said.

“Once the dogs are sterilized and vaccinated, people in that community are more willing to keep them as pets.”

Rabies Elimination

A WHO annual report on Sri Lanka in 2017 mentions that the country looks to eradicate rabies by the year 2020.

“Sri Lanka is moving towards measles elimination and rubella control by 2020. Disease surveillance has been strengthened with the confirmation of laboratory diagnosis of reported cases of measles and rubella. The country is also on track for eliminating rabies as a public health issue by 2020,” the 2017 annual report of the World Health Organisation for Sri Lanka stated.

Fernando said that if carried out conscientiously, rabies could be eradicated within a span of three years.

“They are spending huge amounts of money on an eradicable disease continuously over so many years,” she said.

“How long are we going to do this?”

Sri Lanka has failed to eliminate rabies owing to inconsistent policies and the situation has more or less stagnated to a point where nobody even knows if the program is still carried out, Fernando said.

Rabies vaccination, on the other hand, is more affordable than vaccinations for other viruses canines could come into contact with.

“A dog is more likely to contact other highly contagious diseases like Canine Parvovirus and Distemper than Rabies,” Captain said.

“We would like to give the parvo and distemper vaccines but those vaccines are beyond our budget. We prioritise the rabies vaccine since rabies can be transmitted to humans by a dog bite.”

A brief history

Prior to the No Kill policy enacted in 2006 by then President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the law permitted street dogs to be rounded up and gassed to combat rabies.

This policy introduced the CNVR (Catch-Neuter-Vaccinate-Release) method which ended the ineffective and inhumane killing of thousands of strays.

Following the policy, Sri Lanka national sterilization and rabies vaccination programs were carried out by the government through either the Department of Animal Health and Production or the Health Ministry.

In 2008 the government initiated allocating funds for country-wide spaying of female dogs only.

“The government vets belong to the Department of Animal Production and Health. And at that time there weren’t any vets who could do this because they were more involved in farm animals. Therefore, they had to be empowered,” Fernando said.

“By 2018, a concept called One Health came up and the three stakeholders involved, the local government, livestock ministry and the health ministry came to an understanding that the national sterilization program and the rabies vaccination program should come under the DAPH” she said.

“It was also decided that the prophylaxis or human-rabies control will be handled by the Health Ministry. Then the DAPH recruited more vets and the program was going well.”

Fernando said that the Public Health Veterinary Unit setup was expanded with main focal points being sterilization and vaccination.

There about 300 offices throughout the country catering to the needs of people in that area.

However, the National Dog Sterilization and Rabies Eradication programs were handed back to the Health Ministry from the DAPH during the 2017/2018 period.

Where it is now

Since the change, the two programs were supposed to be conducted through contractual vets.

Animal lovers and welfare organizations continue to do the government’s job for them in this regard as they have done in earlier years under various administrations.

To mitigate street dog overpopulation, the government relocates or removes dogs from areas which only aggravates the same problem in another area.

“Dogs should not be relocated or removed from their current territories. There are several negative repercussions associated with relocation such as territory fights and lack of food due to unfamiliarity with the area,” Captain added.

“Besides a new set of dogs will move into the vacuum created by the removal of the previous dogs.”

Mass sterilization and vaccination will only work if it is done right and consistent follow-up and aftercare practices.


Reported by Tania Madies



Comments (1)

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  1. Tamsin says:

    Dogstar Foundation are sterilising and vaccinating over 1000 dogs every month in the Gampaha district….this should be talked about!!!!

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  1. Tamsin says:

    Dogstar Foundation are sterilising and vaccinating over 1000 dogs every month in the Gampaha district….this should be talked about!!!!

Central banks expect to increase gold reserves after buying 1,037 tonnes in 2023: Survey

ECONOMYNEXT – About 29 percent of central banks in the world intended to increase their gold reserves in 2023, up from 24 percent in 2023 and just 8 percent in 2019, a survey by the World Gold Council showed.

“The planned purchases are chiefly motivated by a desire to rebalance to a more preferred strategic level of gold holdings, domestic gold production, and financial market concerns including higher crisis risks and rising inflation,” the WGC said.

About 81 percent of 70 central banks that responded to the survey expected global central bank holdings of gold to go up, from 71 percent in 2023.

While in prior years, gold’s “historical position” was the top reason for central banks to hold gold, this factor dropped significantly to number five this year.

This year, the top reason for central banks to hold gold is “long-term store of value / inflation hedge” (88%), followed by “performance during times of crisis” (82%), “effective portfolio diversifier” (75%) and “no default risk” (72%).

Concerns about sanctions were listed as by 23 percent of emerging market central banks (0 advanced).

De-dollarization as a reason to hold gold gained ground, but was not among the main reasons.

About 13 percent of emerging market central banks listed de-dollarization as one of the reasons to buy gold up from 11 percent last year and 6 advanced nations said the same from zero last year.

Around 49 percent of central banks expected gold reserves to be moderately lower five year from now in the 2024 survey, against 49 percent in 2023 and 38 percent in 2022.

About 13 percent of central banks surveyed said US dollar reserves would be significantly lower in the 2024 survey, up from 5 percent in 2023 and 4 percent in 2022. (Colombo/June18/2024)

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Sri Lanka rupee closes weaker at 304.75/305.40 to US dollar

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s rupee closed weaker at 304.75/305.40 to the US dollar Tuesday, down from 304.15 to the US dollar Friday, dealer said, while some bond yields edged up.

Sri Lanka’s rupee has weakened amid unsterilized excess liquidity from earlier dollar purchases.

Excess liquidity fell from as high as 200 billion rupees, helped by some sales of maturing bills and also allowing some term contracts to run out.

However the central bank has started to inject liquidity again below its policy rate to suppress interest rates.

On Tuesday 30 billion rupees was printed overnight at an average yield of only 8.73 percent.

Separately another 25 billion rupees was printed till June 25 at 8.09 percent to 9.05 percent, which was still below overnight the policy rate of 9.5 percent.

Nobody has so far taken the central bank to court for printing money beyond overnight at rates lower than the overnight rate.

Sri Lanka operates an ad hoc exchange rate regime called ‘flexible exchange rate’ which triggers panic among market participants, as the central bank stays away when spikes in credit either creates import demand or unsterilized credit is used up.

“If large volumes of unsterilized liquidity is left, the exchange rate has to be closely defended to prevent speculation involving early covering of import bills and late selling of exports proceeds,” EN’s economic columnist Bellwether says.

“Just as an appreciating or stable exchange rate leads to late covering of import bills, a falling rates leads to immediate covering of import bills.

“Keeping exchange rates stable is a relatively simple exercise but it is difficult to do so if short term rates are also closely targeted with printed money, as liquidity runs out, as if the country had a free float and no reserve target.”

“When there is a large volume of excess liquidity remaining (except those voluntary deposited for long periods by risk averse banks) the the interest rates structure is under-stated compared to the reported reserves.

“Interest rates would be a little higher than seen in the market if the liquidity was mopped up and domestic credit and imports were blocked to prevent the reserves from being used up.”

In East Asia there is greater knowledge of central bank operational frameworks, though International Monetary Fund driven flawed doctrine are also threatening the monetary stability of those countries, critics say.


Vietnam selling SBV bills to stabilize the Dong, as Sri Lanka rupee also weakens

Sri Lanka’s rupee started to collapse steeply after the IMF’s Second Amendment in 1978 along with many other countries as flawed operational frameworks gained ground without a credible anchor.

A bond maturing on 15.12.2026 closed at 10.10/30 percent up from 10.05/30 percent Friday.

A bond maturing on 15.10.2027 closed at 10.60/57 flat from 10.60/80 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.07.2028 closed at 11.15/35 percent, up from 11.05/20 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.09.2029 closed at 11.80/90 percent unchanged.

A bond maturing on 15.10.2030 closed at 11.90/12.00 percent.

A maturing on 10.12.2031 closed at 11.95/12.10 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.10.2032 closed at down at 11.95/12.10 percent, down from 12.00/10 percent. (Colombo/Jun14/2024)

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Sri Lanka’s Ceylon Chamber links up with Gujarat Chamber

ECONOMYNEXT – The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce has signed an agreement with the Southern Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SGCCI) to increase trade cooperation between India and Sri Lanka.

The MOU was signed by CCC CEO Buwanekabahu Perera, SGCCI President Ramesh Vaghasia, in the presence of Dr Valsan Vethody, Consul General for Sri Lanka in Mumbai, India.

“With the signing of the MoU, … the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce and SGCCI aim to facilitate trade between the two countries via initiatives such as trade fairs and delegations, business networking events, training programmes,” the Ceylon Chamber said in a statement.

“This partnership will open doors for Sri Lankan businesses to explore opportunities in Surat’s dynamic market and enable the sharing of expertise and resources between the two regions.”

Established in 1940, SGCCI engages with over 12,000 members and indirect ties with more than 2,00,000 members via 150 associations. It promotes trade, commerce, and industry in South Gujarat.

The region’s commercial and economic centre Surat has risen to prominence as the global epicenter for diamond cutting and as India’s textile hub, and is ranked the world’s 4th fastest growing city with a GDP growth rate of 11.5%

Surat’s economic landscape is vibrant and diverse. As India’s 8th largest and Gujarat’s 2nd largest city, it boasts the highest average annual household income in the country.

The nearby Hazira Industrial Area hosts major corporations like Reliance, ESSAR, SHELL, and L&T. (Colombo/Jun18/2024)

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