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17:42 May 13 2010

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Mastiffs not a rabies threat in Yushu earthquake zone
17:42, May 13, 2010  

Disease control measures that required the mass killing of dogs to prevent the spread of rabies after the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake will not be repeated in the wake of the Yushu earthquake, according to authorities in Qinghai Province.

The decision will save the lives of homeless Tibetan mastiffs, the expensive dogs that many breeders count on for their livelihood in the earthquake region.

Sun Yingxiang, deputy director of the veterinary office of the agriculture and animal husbandry bureau in Qinghai, told the Global Times that epidemic prevention work is going well in Yushu prefecture, and experts have decided it is not necessary to kill homeless Tibetan mastiffs.

"There has been no record of rabies in Yushu in the past 20 years," Sun said. " And we have everything under control."

A week after the Sichuan earthquake, Qingchuan county organized a two-week long dog-killing campaign, the Beijing News reported in 2008.

At the time, earthquake relief directors said the homeless dogs posed a threat to public health because they eat rubbish, attack people and spread disease, the newspaper said.

Statistics provided by Qinghai authorities revealed that more than 40,000 Tibetan mastiffs had received rabies vaccinations by May 1.

Remains of Tibetan mastiffs killed in the quake have all been buried.

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