Killing Dogs for Animal Welfare
Posted by Richard Conniff on October 5, 2013
In the face of protests that the plan is “criminal” and “inhumane,” Romanians is about to begin a program to catch and euthanize its feral dogs. The proposal arose from growing alarm over the 64,000 feral dogs said to be roaming the streets of Bucharest, and 7800 dog bite injuries in the city so far this year. It gained momentum last month after a stray dog mauled a four-year-old boy to death.
Legislation authorizing the culling of stray dogs—if no one adopts them within 14 days—has already cleared the Romanian parliament and been approved by the national court. It now awaits the signature of President President Traian Basescu, who has declared that “humans are above dogs.”
Predictably, animal rights activists are outraged. The World Society for the Protection of Animals has criticized the culling as “both inhumane and ineffective.” Vier Pfoten, a Romanian animal welfare group, calls it “mass killing,” arguing instead for continuing a program to catch stray dogs and sterilize them.
It’s easy enough to understand where the animal welfare activists are coming from: I love my dog, too. The debate also matters because it isn’t just about Romania. It’s happening everywhere from Detroit, which has 40,000 feral dogs, to Srinigar, India, which has one feral dog for every 13 people. But instead of automatically opposing the euthanasia idea, it’s worth pausing to think more clearly about what animal welfare really means. Feral dogs aren’t just bad for people, it turns out. They’re also catastrophically bad for wildlife.
The evidence of the damage they cause … to read the rest of this article, click here.