Many of you have asked about the animals in Haiti.
According to the ASPCA nearly 5 million livestock (primarily goats) live there. Before the quake, Haiti had problems with stray dogs and maintaining native wildlife populations. These, along with an unknown number of companion animals, were affected by the earthquake.
Broadcast news from Haiti is eerily bereft of glimpses of animals, and concern has been raised that surviving animals may have been used for food.
The devastation is so widespread and the needs of the more than three million people is so extreme that the animals have had to wait, but they are not forgotten.
International animal welfare groups from around the world have formed a coalition to help the animals in Haiti, but it may be weeks before workers can get in to assess the situation and provide help.
The Animal Relief Coalition for Haiti (ARCH) will provide the relief efforts, headed by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA). Members of ARCH are collecting food, water, medical supplies, and money to put to use when they get access.
The situation for animals in Haiti was already pretty dire, only made worse by the earthquake’s devastation and so many people needing basic care and emergency services.
When animal welfare workers get to Haiti, they will perform emergency care, help the remaining people care for the remaining animals, and remove animals that have no hope of surviving in those conditions.
It will take tremendous and novel ideas and an understanding of Haiti’s specific challenges to restore the country to what it was, much less get it on the path to real improvement. Let us hope that the humanitarian efforts to save man and beasts will be able to stay around beyond this crisis.
When making donations, be extremely careful. Send money only to reputable organizations familiar to you that you trust to put the money on the ground in Haiti and not in their coffers for unrelated projects. True, many organizations will use precious resources in Haiti that they will need to replenish. Just be sure you know how your donations will be used.
The following organizations are a part of ARCH:
World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA)
International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW)
The American Humane Association (AHA)
Best Friends Animal Society
United Animal Nations
For more information:
A doctoral student’s on-site blog about challenges faced by Haitian wildlife.
A list of reputable human relief organizations from CNN.
Sodopreca, reportedly the only Dominician animal welfare organization helping in Haiti. This page is in Spanish.