PUTRAJAYA: The Department of Veterinary Services (DVS) will establish close cooperation with non-governmental organisations (NGO) to address matters related to animal welfare.
Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek said a special committee had already been formed comprising both DVS and NGO representatives.
"This marks a new beginning of a close cooperation and eventually it will become a new platform to work together on animal issues," Ahmad Shabery told a press conference after chairing a meeting between NGOs and the DVS.
The meeting primarily discussed the rabies outbreak in the northern states with the NGOs asking for the culling of street dogs to stop as there had not been any new cases of infected dogs since Sept 21.
On whether the Government would consider carrying out mass vaccination of street dogs as requested by the NGOs, Ahmad Shabery said many things would have to first be taken into consideration.
"The DVS will go to Penang and look at all the available facilities as well as ensure if there was sufficient vaccinations, only then can mass vaccination be looked into," added Ahmad Shabery.
He said that once vaccinated the street dogs must be quarantined and the logistics for this must also be taken into consideration.
Ahmad Shabery also said the NGOs highlighted the fact that many dogs on the streets were not strays, but community dogs that had been neutered and vaccinated.
"Maybe we need some sort of labelling for these community dogs such as specific collars to identify them as community dogs," said Ahmad Shabery.
On whether the DVS will call for the culling order in Penang to stop, Ahmad Shabery said no decision will be made as of now but hoped that the culling can be stopped soon.
Noah's Ark Ipoh founder Dr Ranjit Mendhir said the meeting with the minister was very encouraging.
"Hope the close camaraderie and cooperation between the govt and NGOs will continue," he added.
Penang Hope Of Strays founder Mei Lim said although the meeting went well, she was disappointed that there was no call to stop the culling.
She added rescuers and Penang were very saddened as their community dogs were being killed unnecessarily.
Source: The Star