Two animal charities have released shocking videos and photos of dog massacres taking place on a paradise holiday island visited by tens of thousands of British tourists every year.
The sickening images show government-funded dog catchers hunting down and killing a large number of dogs because they are deemed a nuisance.
Four years ago the authorities in Mauritius briefly suspended the barbaric canine executions after a Daily Mail investigation threatened to trigger a tourism boycott.
Our undercover investigation of the cruelty practiced by the laughably named Mauritian Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals ultimately quashed it and ushered in new policy of mass sterilisation of the island’s stray dog population.
But this new video proves the government has now ditched its brief flirtation with sterilisation – which is recommended by all major animal charities – and opted once again to deploy the killing squads.
The Mauritian Society for Animal Welfare (MSAW) replaced the Mauritian Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
MSAW workers reportedly earn a monetary bonus for each dog caught.
In the video, dogs – even those who are friendly and are simply lying in the sun – are gathered indiscriminately and thrown into the back of a van, despite the Mauritian government’s claims that it only catches dogs considered a ‘nuisance’.
Then, at the shelter in Port Louis, as many as 20 of them are killed in full view of one another: while one worker throws the dogs to the ground and stands on them to hold them in place, another administers a hit-or-miss lethal injection through the chest in an attempt to puncture the heart.
The dogs then stagger around and eventually collapse, while the remaining dogs try desperately to escape by climbing the gates and walls of the kennel.
Alan Knight, head of the East Sussex-based animal welfare group International Animal Rescue (IAR), said: ‘Anyone with a trace of humanity will find this footage unbearable to watch.
‘It is chilling to observe the callous indifference of the dog killers towards their victims. Mauritius promotes itself as a paradise island for international holidaymakers, but instead it is a veritable hell on earth for dogs.
‘This, exposé shows that nothing has changed since IAR first revealed the extent of the problem 2012, and it will have serious consequences for the country’s tourist industry, for which the blame lies firmly at the door of the government.’
Elisa Allen, a director of the animal charity PETA, said: ‘Homeless dogs have a hard enough time surviving as it is, without being hunted down and killed in painful ways.
‘The only civilised and effective way to curb the population of stray dogs is to prevent more puppies from being born in the first place by implementing a comprehensive spay-and-neuter programme – which is precisely what we’re calling on the Mauritian government to do.’
Renowned veterinarian Luke Gamble said: ‘The perceived indifference of the individuals involved in these acts of obscene cruelty to animals upsets and offends me on every level.’
IAR and PETA have launched a petition calling for an immediate end to the Mauritian government’s ineffective and cruel ‘catch and kill’ dog-control method and the introduction of a national humane-dog management programme.
Experts say the dogs always breed faster than they can be killed but it is unclear why the authorities have gone back to using the dreaded killing vans.
Many Mauritians claim their pets are kidnapped from front gardens and held for ransom – but most poor people cannot pay the bounty to get their dogs back.
After our successful exposé in 2012 a local woman, Lucy Ramlochun, originally from Brighton, said: ‘The Daily Mail changed everything. They hated it.
‘They knew that tourists love animals and would be so angry to see that this was how they treated the native dog population.’
Ms Ramlochun said: ‘There has been a complete turnaround in the mindset of people. Before the Mail article dogs were generally regarded as a nuisance, a pest. But it doesn’t take much to show kindness.
‘Now people come in off the street with baskets of puppies they have found abandoned. They bring in the strays from their neighbouhood to be sterilised.
‘They have come to regard them as creatures worthy of life and dignity. It is a wonderful thing to see this kindness towards other living things.’
But now the killing has begun again.
It is estimated there were between 60,000 to 80,000 strays, over one for every 20 human inhabitants.