Animal Relief Efforts in Haiti
Ellie Ross has seen first-hand the havoc that uncared for animals can wreak after a natural disaster. The Canadian animal behaviour specialist and a Reader’s Digest Pet Expert worked with United Animal Nations and ASPCA (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
"Some people balk at the idea of sending money to help animals over humans in this kind of circumstance, but it's nothing like that," says Ross. "Imagine trying to fend off hungry, potentially rabid dogs when you have no shelter and are weak from lack of food."
According to Ross, Haiti currently has an estimated 500,000 feral dogs running the streets and they will instinctively form packs to survive. "Medicine to vaccinate the animals from contracting rabies is greatly needed, and other diseases are capable of spreading from animals to humans like anthrax and cholera. Donating to help the animals definitely also helps humans in the long run."
Read on to learn about organizations that are providing relief efforts for animals in Haiti, and in turn, for the human victims of the earthquake.
Canadian Animal Assistance Team (CAAT)
Organized in 2005 to provide support to other animal aid organizations in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, CAAT is committed to being a part of the Haiti animal recovery efforts.
"CAAT recognizes the important role companion and agricultural animals play in human lives," says Chris Robinson, CAAT's Executive Director. "Pets left without food or appropriate care can become a strain on society, spreading diseases such as rabies or parasitic infections. Loss of livestock results in a shortage of essential food sources and transportation and cripples the livelihood of those in agricultural production, hindering the rebuilding process."
Animal Relief Coalition for Haiti (ARCH)
IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare) and WSPA (World Society for the Protection of Animals) have marshalled their forces to create a new entity called ARCH (Animal Relief Coalition for Haiti) to bring aid to Haiti's animals as quickly as possible. They have a team on the ground already, working in co-operation with the Dominican SPCA (SODOPRECA), providing medicine, vaccinations and food via a mobile clinic.
Many other animal welfare organizations have also joined the ARCH coalition including: American Humane Association, Best Friends Animal Society, Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (UK), In Defense of Animals, American Veterinary Medical Association, American Veterinary Medical Foundation, Antigua and Barbuda Humane Society, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, United Animal Nations, Kinship Circle, One Voice, Swiss Animal Protection and Petfinder.com Foundation.
"WSPA and the ARCH coalition plan to spend over $1 million dollars to help the animals in Haiti," says Michelle Cliffe, Communications Manager of the Canadian branch of WSPA. "We are now also in the process of working out a Memorandum of Understanding with the Haitian Government."
HSI, HSUS & HSVMA Join Forces
Also already on the ground in Haiti is a team combined of members from HSI (Humane Society International), HSUS (Humane Society of the United States) and HSVMA (Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association) to assess the most dire and immediate animal-related needs and lend their aid and expertise.
Follow their progress by visiting the Helping Haiti section of the HSI site.
How You Can Help
Here is a list of animal welfare organizations you can donate to that are assisting with the Haiti earthquake relief efforts:
▪ Canadian Animal Assistance Team (CAAT) - Click here to donate to CAAT
▪ World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) - Click here to donate to WSPA
▪ International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) - Click here to donate to IFAW
▪ Humane Society International (HSI) - Click here to donate to HSI