Featured Article - 12 May 2021
World Rabies Day award stimulates local projects and anti-culling advocacy: the story of SFT Morocco
The goal of SFT is for humans and dogs to be able to live in harmony without fear of disease, especially rabies, as people in Morocco fear dogs because of their fear of rabies. We at SFT Morocco are determined to eliminate rabies using a One Health approach that not only includes dog vaccination, but also education initiatives. We target everyone in the community to ensure that they are aware of rabies, and knowledgeable in how to prevent the disease. We undertake education campaigns in schools, universities, and throughout the community – informing people about what to do if they are bitten, avoiding dog bites and other rabies prevention messages. Our aim is to reduce the number of dog bites in the community by 95% purely by teaching people how to behave appropriately around dogs. By doing this, we aim to improve the relationship between the dogs and the people living in the community.
Thus far, the progress that we have made in Tangier (Morocco) is immense. More and more Moroccans now care for the stray dogs and help us catch them so that they can be tagged, neutered, vaccinated, and treated (TNVT). Our TNVT program involves:
- treating the dogs against internal and external parasites using MSD products,
- neutering to control the dog population and prevent excessive suffering,
- vaccinating against rabies to build herd immunity against the disease,
- identifying our dogs with their own identification number on a yellow tag,
- and most importantly, educating the community as we can reduce dog bites by changing the people’s behavior.
So far, we have undertaken TNVT of over 2,000 dogs.
We would like to give a huge thank you to GARC, MSD and everyone involved in the World Rabies Day awards for making it possible for SFT to be an awardee in 2020. Being the awardees for World Rabies Day is an honor and we can’t thank all involved enough. This award means the world to us and the attention and recognition will support our advocacy efforts to impact the authorities to stop the culling of strays and to focus on our TNVT program.
We are proud to say that our “Project Hayat” has been a great success and the GARC-MSD World Rabies Day awards have significantly contributed to this success, together with the support of la Foundation Brigitte Bardot and our supporters.
The community thanks us every day for our work and best of all, more and more people are protecting and caring for the dogs. The authorities are also being a lot more supportive and have begun to work with us. We would like to especially thank the mayor and authorities of Tangier for protecting our tagged dogs, ensuring that those that have been treated, vaccinated and neutered remain safe in the communities. This is a huge step towards a lasting intervention and a better community for both dogs and people. We want Tangier to be the first animal-friendly city that is free from rabies in Africa – setting an example for others to follow. Unfortunately, at present, dogs continue to be culled in Morocco and we will continue to work to put an end to the inhumane, indiscriminate culling of dogs once and for all.
Article contributed by: SFT Morocco, World Rabies Day 2020 awardees.
You can learn more about the work of SFT Morocco on their website: www.sftmorocco.org