January 19, 2010


 Organizations work to assist animals in Haiti following earthquake


Relief for the animals and animal owners of Haiti after the recent devastating earthquake is coming from U.S. and international organizations that focus on animal welfare, veterinary medicine, and agricultural development.

The International Fund for Animal Welfare and the World Society for the Protection of Animals have created the Animal Relief Coalition of Haiti to respond to animal issues resulting from the earthquake. The AVMA is among the participants in the coalition. Also, the American Veterinary Medical Foundation will provide a monetary donation to the coalition.

According to the IFAW, Haiti has about 5 million livestock—mostly goats—and a large population of stray dogs, as well as companion animals and native wildlife. One health concern following the earthquake is the possibility of outbreaks of rabies, leptospirosis, and other zoonotic diseases.

A team is staging in the Dominican Republic to help tend to animals in Haiti. The IFAW is accepting monetary donations to help stock the team's mobile clinic with vaccines, antimicrobials, bandages, food, and other supplies. Dr. Heather Case, AVMA coordinator for emergency preparedness and response, said the Association stands ready to organize the collection of specific veterinary supplies from U.S. donors, if necessary.

In addition, the Christian Veterinary Mission and Heifer International maintain longstanding development programs in Haiti relevant to animal health and agriculture.

The Christian Veterinary Mission has been working with Haitians since the early 1980s, providing programs such as training for villagers in animal health. The mission's three long-term fieldworkers in Haiti survived the earthquake, and the mission has established a special fund for them to use in their response efforts.

Heifer International has been in Haiti for a decade. The organization has 16 agricultural development projects under way, from gifts of livestock to training in aquaculture, involving thousands of families and several farmer associations. Heifer is raising money for a recovery and rebuilding effort in response to the earthquake.

The IFAW, Christian Veterinary Mission, Heifer International, and AVMF are accepting monetary donations for relief efforts in Haiti through their Web sites: www.ifaw.org, www.cvmusa.org, www.heifer.org, and www.avmf.org.