Updated: Haiti Veterinary Outreach Efforts in Progress

Veterinary and agriculture groups are organizing a response effort in the wake of Tuesday's earthquake in Haiti's capital of Port-au-Prince.

Christian Veterinary Mission has served in Haiti since the early 1980s and has set up a dedicated fund for earthquake relief. They currently have three long-term fieldworkers on site, all of whom have checked in as safe. They have also trained more than 1,000 village-level animal health workers.

The fieldworkers are "working with the Haitian people to assess the damage, respond to the immediate needs, and understand how to help once again," CVM Executive Director Dr. Kit Flowers said in a statement.

Donate to the Christian Veterinary Mission Haiti Earthquake Fund.

Heifer International, which has worked in Haiti for 10 years, and currently has 16 projects under way with more than 16,000 families and several farmer associations, has issued an emergency appeal for funds to help families in Haiti recover.

"Heifer is by no means a traditional first responder, but we have projects and partner families in Haiti who likely have lost everything, and now, with this devastation, the need is even greater than before," said Steve Denne, chief operating officer of the global hunger and poverty organization, in a statement. "This appeal will help us help our current families begin to rebuild their lives, and provide the chance to help even more families recover from this devastating blow."

Heifer International has seven employees in Haiti. Their projects, which are scattered around the country, range from training in sustainable farming and crop diversity to gifts of livestock, seeds, trees, and grains to training in nutrition, aquaculture, and fish production.

Donate to Heifer International.

American Veterinary Medical Foundation has an ongoing Animal Disaster Relief and Reimbursement Fund. All appeals and donor designations around animal disaster and emergency efforts support this fund.

"As the human issues are being addressed by those organizations that support this work, it is also time for those of us concerned with animal welfare to get ready to provide our assistance," the AVMF noted on their Web site.

Support from this fund is granted and distributed for efforts involving animal disaster and emergency efforts that meet AVMF approved criteria and initiatives (including the AVMA's Veterinary Medical Assistance Teams-VMAT and their efforts in support of animals in disaster situations).

One of the AVMA VMAT Commanders is en route to Haiti in his role as a member of a National Disaster Medical System Incident Response Team, providing a key link between both human and animal welfare.

Contributions received from specific appeals and donor designations are tracked and every effort is made to align the level of contribution received with support distributed for timely efforts and initiatives. It is important to remember that disaster and emergency programs, planning, and support are ongoing, without the high visibility of specific events.

"Our thoughts are with both the people and animals of this terrible disaster in Haiti," said AVMF Executive Director Michael Cathey. Further information specific to the Haiti Earthquake will be posted later today on avmf.org.

The Animal Relief Coalition for Haiti (ARCH), an international group of professional animal welfare organizations committed to aiding animals in the earthquake-stricken region. The American Humane Association committed significant resources to ARCH, which was created by the World Society for the Protection of Animals and the International Fund for Animal Welfare.

The international coalition is currently preparing a mobile animal clinic and staff to perform outreach work in Haiti. The coalition also will be assessing and assisting with the needs of animals belonging to people displaced by the disaster, as they move into temporary camps. Their plans include providing food and clean water, as well as vaccinating companion animals against rabies.

Due to restricted access, coalition personnel are not yet on the ground in Haiti, but they expect to arrive in Haiti in the coming days to begin assessments of animal needs and provide initial assistance. Naturally, the situation might change quickly, and the coalition will adapt its plans and efforts to best meet the needs of the animals.

To support ARCH, donate to the International Fund for Animal Welfare, or World Society for the Protection of Animals.

American Humane will be actively updating its Web site and social networks to inform people on the status of the coalition and how they can help.

Other veterinary and animal welfare groups are expected to announce response plans in the coming days. This page will be updated as that information becomes available. Please e-mail information on these efforts to News@TheHorse.com.

General aid and outreach organizations can be found on a number of sites, including Charity Navigator. Also see their Tips For Giving In Times Of Crisis.

About the Author

Erin Ryder

Erin Ryder is a former news editor of The Horse: Your Guide To Equine Health Care. She owns a portly gray gelding named Duncan and dabbles in several equestrian disciplines, with an emphasis on dressage.

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