Thursday, May 27, 2010

Rabid Debate

Debate rages on canine mailing lists over new legislation regarding rabies vaccine, and whether vaccination requirements should be mandated, reduced, dropped altogether, and whether, how, or if "exemptions" for immune-compromised pets should be included. They're all missing the real point. As one response to the debate implies, if you put too many strings on rabies vaccination, it stops being about disease control (the real issue) and starts being about social control:

Want to fix that problem? Stop using rabies as a "track you and your pet" thing. Make it a mobile clinic where anyone can show up, ANONYMOUSLY present animals (to any number or description), and have them vaccinated for a buck or two apiece. (Rabies vaccine costs about 60 cents per shot in bulk.) Hand out certificates which only describe the animal, frex "canine, male, black" and maybe a guess at the predominant breed. Print 'em on watermarked paper to prevent casual counterfeiting, so they'll be legal as proof of vaccination in the event that the animal bites someone. There is NO need to include the owner's name (who else would have the certificate??) and if it's cheap and anonymous, there's NO incentive for a black market.

And do NOT use these clinics as sting operations to nail people with too many animals (which I have heard is being done in some areas) NOR those with animals in poor condition (would you prefer they didn't bother vaccinating them at all?? why further disincentivize good husbandry??)

STOP linking rabies vaccination to licensing and/or Mandatory Spay/Neuter, STOP forcing people to hide breeding stock from limit laws and MSN, STOP making it a pricey affair involving a $40 office call to the regular vet, and compliance will skyrocket. People do the cheap, easy, and risk-free. They resist the risky and expensive: I'd guess most of the ravings against vaccine risk have little to do with real risk and a lot to do with the fact that most breeders (who are almost the entirety of said ravings) are hiding over-limit dogs and ducking MSN.

So, all you Departments of Public Health out there -- if your true goal is indeed rabies control, put your policy where your mouth is. Remove rabies vaccination from Animal Control's clutches and put it back where every pet owner can comply -- without putting their pets at a far more immediate risk (of fines, confiscation, or MSN) than rabies could ever be.

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful suggestions! Try a carrot instead of a stick. Maybe get a mobile van out there and give out free doggie goodies with a rabies vaccine.
    How about everyone who shows up gets a "prize'.. a small bag of "promo" dog food or treats.. or a leash..a collar..or a water bowl....maybe something that says "I'm protected .. Vaccinated by Merck.. or Pfizer.. (or whoever)".

    That is the kind of "mobile van" the HSUS needs to start using .. not some goofy CSI "crime lab" van..