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Bali Gets US$1.63 Million Help Fight Rabies

Jakarta Provides Urgently Needed Funds to Help Vaccinate Bali's Dog Population Against Rabies.

(10/30/2010) Tempo Interactive confirms that the Bali Provincial government will be the recipient of Rp. 15 billion (US$1.63 million) from the national Agriculture Department as assistance in the ongoing fight against rabies. Approved by the Central House of Representatives (DPR), the funds should become available for by the end of October.

Acknowledging the worldwide attention Bali's efforts to combat rabies has stimulated, Siswono Yudhohusodo a lawmaker from Commission IV of the DPR, told Bali's governor Pastika, "We don't want to have victims and damage Bali's image as an international tourist site."

The human death toll attributed to Rabies in Bali has passed 103. Some 70,000 stray dogs have been euthanized by officials and community volunteers to help curb the dread of the disease.

According to Bali authorities, 261,000 dogs, representing 60% of the estimated 460,000 dogs living in Bali, have been vaccinated. Experts say that at least 70% of a local dog population must be inoculated to effectively halt the spread of rabies.

Bali's governor said that his office will be unable to handle the problem of rabies in Bali unless it receives assistance. Saying that rabies is linked with Balinese culture and the relationship the people have with the animals as guards and companions, the governor added, "We can't treat them irresponsibly."

The governor has been roundly attacked by local animal rights groups for his readiness to eliminate stray dogs in Bali as part of an overall scheme to once again make Bali "rabies free."