A coalition of animal protection groups has arrived in Haiti to aid animals left stricken by the devastating earthquake. Vets arrived at the weekend and the first shipment of medicine and equipment is expected to arrive in Port-au-Prince today.

A coalition of animal protection groups has arrived in Haiti to aid animals left stricken by the devastating earthquake. Vets arrived at the weekend and the first shipment of medicine and equipment is expected to arrive in Port-au-Prince from the Dominican Republic today.

ARCH in HaitiThe team – known collectively as the Animal Relief Coalition for Haiti (ARCH) – was formed by the WSPA and IFAW to deal with the Haiti crisis and assist in the response efforts. All major animal welfare organisations have been invited to join and direct their financial support to the coalition.

The specialist ARCH team, including two experienced veterinary surgeons, arrived in Haiti on January 23, but claim it is still too early to predict the scale of the operation. Initial plans are to set up mobile clinics to deal with strays and injured livestock.

WSPA’s head of disaster management James Sawyer said: “We know the numbers of livestock and farm animals in Haiti but it’s hard to say how many have been affected – but we think about half the population. However, exactly how many are roaming in Port-au-Prince and how many have been eaten through desperation is unknown.”

The most pressing animal welfare problems will be identified by the ARCH team following meetings with officials from the Haitian government and international agencies such as the United Nations. Wide-ranging, long-term plans will also be drawn up, including options for creating and improving infrastructure for veterinary care, a large-scale vaccination program and animal population control services.

Animals play a significant role in HaitiIan Robinson, IFAW’s director of emergency relief, said: “The condition of these animals before the earthquake was not good, so we can’t just simply put things back as they were. We need to deliver immediate relief to animals and to develop long-term plans for a lasting good.”

Currently the most pressing need for the WSPA is money to fund the veterinary teams who are working out there, both now and in the future. Based on this knowledge, Vetsonline’s sister-publication, VN Times, has launched a campaign to raise funds for ARCH.

With the support of VN Times readers and Vetsonline users, we can look to make a difference to the lives of the animals of Haiti, so please give generously.

Donate online at http://donate.wspa.org.uk/VNTimes

Images © WSPA
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