Animal Welfare Efforts in Haiti

by 5m Editor
12 July 2010, at 10:49am

HAITI - Following the earthquake on 12 January, one coalition took on the challenge of addressing the needs of the surviving animal population.

The Animal Relief Coalition for Haiti (ARCH), which was formed just days after the quake by the World Society of the Protection of Animals (WSPA) and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), has treated more than 25,000 animals in the hardest-hit areas of the country.

"We formed ARCH in an effort to better coordinate the work of animal welfare groups. As one coalition, we then worked very closely with Haitian government officials, the United Nations and other international agencies to define the country's most pressing animal-related problems," said Gerardo Huertas, disaster operations director for the Americas at WSPA.

In post-disaster Haiti, the welfare of the animal population is of vital importance. Not only do many Haitians rely on animals for their economic well-being, but the spread of disease from animal to human is a very real threat.

"In Haiti, it's important to approach animal welfare from a human welfare aspect because, by vaccinating every animal, we are not only helping the animals, but also thousands of people," said Kevin Degenhard, project manager for ARCH and chief superintendent at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA).

ARCH has also begun repairing the wall around Haiti's National Veterinary Laboratory and main lab infrastructure, which fell during the earthquake, and are about to install 24 solar-powered refrigeration units, which are critical to storing animal vaccinations.

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