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Remaking One Health: Decolonial approaches to street dogs and rabies prevention in India

Project Member(s): Ramp, D.

Funding or Partner Organisation: Wellcome Trust
Wellcome Trust

Start year: 2021

Summary: This study investigates the historical, institutional, socio-material, and ethological dimensions of people-street dog relationships in India to understand and address the continued prevalence of rabies as a major public health concern. Despite a rich corpus of research and long-standing initiatives on rabies elimination, India has the highest burden of human rabies in the world. We will study the multi-faceted intersections between people, street dogs, and public health to develop a comprehensive account of the biosocial conditions that frame the persistence of rabies as a public health priority. Building on pilot research, we will examine the multiple dimensions of the people-street dog interface in urban and rural India, including historical and contemporary transnational influences; public attitudes and knowledge; everyday interactions between people, dogs, and the biophysical environment; and policy and institutional interventions. Challenging the (post)colonial assumption that street dogs are out-of-place disease vectors, our analytical framework of multispecies cultures directs inter-disciplinary attention to the actions and lived experiences of human and nonhuman subjects. In deploying this fresh approach to the impasse in rabies research and practice, our overarching goal is two-fold: 1) to generate insights and strategies aimed at constructing healthy multispecies habitats and cultures; 2) to critically engage with the One Health paradigm and reconfigure how rabies and other zoonoses are researched and understood.

FOR Codes: Behavioural Ecology, Environmental Sociology, Control of Pests, Diseases and Exotic Species in Urban and Industrial Environments, Environmental Ethics