Published on 8 Oct 2014 Sections , ,

Who matters? 300,000 petition to save ‘Ebola dog’

With more than 3,400 people dead in west Africa and 7,500 infected in the latest Ebola outbreak, 300,000 people sign a petition demanding action… to save an infected dog.

African boy and Excalibur the ebola dog

Left, a boy with suspected Ebola in Liberia. Right, Excalibur, the ‘Ebola dog’

The most popular Ebola-related petition currently on the change.org website is not one calling for an end to the suffering of men, women and children in west Africa.

It is a petition calling for Excalibur, the pet dog belonging to Teresa Romero Ramos, the Spanish nurse infected with Ebola, to be saved from euthanasia. Officials want to put it down for fear that it may spread the disease.

Whilst Excalibur’s petition has more than 300,000 supporters at the time of writing, the nearest petition relating to human sufferers of the virus, calling for vaccine research to be fast-tracked, has half that number.

Read more: heroic British nurse makes emotional plea to stop Ebola

The Excalibur petition was posted on Tuesday. The petition calling for a focus on research that could save thousands of lives was posted two months ago.

On Wednesday it was reported that an international medical official with the UN Mission in Liberia has tested positive for the Ebola virus and is receiving treatment.

‘Not just a dog’

Is this indicative of a wider approach to charity that favours animals over humans? Data from the National Council for Voluntary Organisations shows that animal charities get more donations from the British public than charities for the disabled, homeless and the elderly.

However, children’s and medical charities get significantly more donations.

The petition to save Excalibur argues that it is unfair to the Spanish nurse and her husband, Javier Limon Romero, to kill their dog, and that the dog could also be quarantined.

“This is not just a dog”, the petition says. “He is one of the family”.

The hashtag #SalvemosaExcalibur, meaning Save Excalibur, is currently trending worldwide and a statement from Mr Romero is being spread across social media netowrks.

At the time of writing the petition to save Excalibur had 300,519 signatures.

Meanwhile a nine-year-old son of a charity worker has been barred from attending a primary school because “ignorant” parents feared their children would be affected with Ebola.

Miriam Mason-Sesay, who is British but has been living in Sierra Leone since 2000, said her son had been treated like a “leper”. She had returned to the UK for a month on a fundraising mission, and it had been arranged for her son to attend St Simon’s Catholic Primary School in Hazel Grove, Stockport, the Daily Telegraph reported.

Both mother and son had been screened for Ebola, and granted unrestricted movement in the UK. However a backlash from parents meant the school made the “pragmatic” decision to cancel the planned trip.

Elizabeth Inman, the schol’s headteacher, said: “I understand that there is a lot of misinformation about how Ebola is spread. A significant number of parents have been in touch with me to express their fears. As you know, I always listen to parents. Ebola cannot be spread as some parents have suggested.

“Of course I would never endanger any child or colleague and I have to put my trust in the professionals. It is with great sadness that we decided to cancel the visit. The misguided hysteria emerging is extremely disappointing, distracting us from our core purpose of educating your children and is not an environment that I would wish a visitor to experience.”

Child barred from UK school

A school in Stockport has cancelled the visit of a charity worker and her son after “ignorant” parents feared their children would be infected with Ebola.

Head teacher Elizabeth Inman wrote to parents on Tuesday to say that “with a very heavy heart” the school had taken “the pragmatic decision” to stop the visit, despite both mother and son having been screened and granted unrestricted movement in the UK.

Miriam Mason-Sesay, who is British but has lived in Sierra Leone since 2000, said her son has been treated like a “leper”, adding that the school’s decision was down to “ignorant” parents.

“Unfortunately, there was so much pressure from an ignorant parent body that the school had to act,” she said.

“We’ve been met with leper-type attitudes from wealthy people overreacting and trying to protect themselves from a threat which isn’t there.”

Ms Mason-Sesay said: “Unfortunately, there was so much pressure from an ignorant parent body that the school had to act.

“We’ve been met with leper-type attitudes from wealthy people overreacting and trying to protect themselves from a threat which isn’t there.”

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