Ethiopian authorities have come up with cruel plans to kill thousands of stray dogs ahead of the Coptic millennium celebrations next week. They are to be fed meat laced with strychnine, a cheap and powerful poison often used to kill rats that causes a painful death. The reason sited for the killings is the eradication of rabies.
Kassahun Addis in a column in this week’s edition of the Sub-Saharan Informer, a weekly newspaper is quoted to have said:
Dogicide is an act that should be condemned in the strongest words possible, and a cause worth fighting for,
Ethiopia follows the Coptic calendar, which is about seven years behind the more common Gregorian. Among the celebrations scheduled is a concert by the U.S. pop group Black Eyed Peas in a $20 million hall being built for the occasion. The celebrations are expected to draw tourists from around the world.
Things seem to be really stirring in the country in preparation for the celebrations: a week ago, a government-funded private organization said it would move thousands of homeless people from the capital to the countryside ahead of the celebration, promising to help them with food, shelter and medicine.
Then the Great Ethiopia Run, a 10-kilometer (6.2-mile) race organized by distance legend Haile Gebrselassie that has drawn 30,000 runners, was postponed because of unspecified security concerns ahead of next month’s millennium celebrations. The race, scheduled for Sept. 9, was moved to November.
Instead of the barbaric death sentence, these dogs need treatment and vaccination. The authorities should sterilize street dogs and only those with rabies or chronic conditions should be killed but through more painlessly means.