Federal authorities will close Canada’s borders on Wednesday to commercial dogs, including those sold or adopted, from more than 100 countries deemed high risk for canine rabies .
The move has been met with fierce opposition from some animal rescuers and advocates, but the Canadian Veterinary Health Association says it’s important to protect people and dogs from the deadly disease.
Canada’s Food Inspection Agency says Canada currently has no active cases of rabies in dogs, caused by a different variant of the virus from the one circulating in wildlife such as raccoons and foxes. .
The agency says that while nearly 100% of rabies is preventable with proper vaccination, the disease is more than 99% fatal to humans and dogs once they start showing symptoms.
Camille Labchuk, chief executive officer of Animal Justice Canada, says the agency should have opted for less stringent measures, such as antibody testing to verify vaccination, before imposing an outright ban.
However, Louis Kwantes, past president of the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association, said he thinks the policy is warranted by the risks that canine rabies poses to Canada’s human and canine populations.
The CFIA says canine rabies kills 59,000 people a year in countries affected by the ban, including Afghanistan, Ukraine and mainland China.
This report by the Canadian Press was first published on September 27, 2022.