DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) — Bangladesh plans to vaccinate stray dogs instead of culling them in a bid to prevent rabies that annually kills some 2,000 people in the country.

The government has teamed up with a global group – World Society for the Protection of Animals, or WSPA – to begin vaccinating in Cox’s Bazar town.

Health Ministry official Be-Nazir Ahmed told The Associated Press Thursday “we want to eliminate rabies but without the need to cull dogs.”

In a statement, WSPA said its Cox’s Bazar campaign would “save thousands of dogs in its first year alone and pave the way for a nationwide vaccination campaign.”

Cox’s Bazar, a southern beach resort, was chosen because tourists regularly fall victim to stray dogs. Authorities record up to 300,000 dog bites annually in Bangladesh.

© 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Learn more about our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

Headlines from the Associated Press