January 20, 2010
U.S. Veterinarians join coalition to help Haiti
— The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and American Veterinary Medical Foundation (AVMF) have joined a coalition of other animal health and welfare groups to help address the ongoing humanitarian relief efforts in Haiti following the January 12 earthquake that devastated the country.
The Animal Relief Coalition of Haiti (ARCH) was developed by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA). The AVMA is among the participants in the coalition, while the AVMF will participate with the other national and international charities by providing monetary support.
"The American Veterinary Medical Foundation has made a significant initial financial contribution to the animal relief efforts in Haiti," said Michael Cathey, executive director of the AVMF. "As the efforts and initiatives reveal themselves following this terrible disaster it will be the intention of the AVMF to provide even greater support."
According to Heather Case, DVM, MPH, Dipl. ACVPM, director of scientific activities and coordinator for emergency preparedness and response at the AVMA, animal relief efforts in Haiti currently are focused on assessment. There has not been a call for veterinary volunteers or specific veterinary medical supplies at this time.
"Our basic role is one of information gathering," said Dr. Case. "We are in contact with those on the ground who regularly update us on the situation and current needs. There is such an immense humanitarian need at this point the focus is providing for human needs and keeping an eye on public health issues."
The initial animal focus will be on the nation's livestock, estimated to number 5 million, mostly goats. The longer term focus will be on Haiti's large population of stray animals.
"It's hard to comprehend the scope of the devastation in Haiti right now," said Dr. Larry Corry, president of the AVMA. "Hopefully we can work through ARCH to help the Haitians get back on their feet by tending to the public health and welfare needs of the nation's people and animals."
For ongoing updates, please follow the AVMA and the AVMA VMAT on Twitter (@AVMAvets and @AVMAVMAT) or visit www.avma.org/news/Haiti_earthquake.
For more information, contact Michael San Filippo, AVMA media relations assistant, at 847-285-6687 (office), 847-732-6194 (cell), or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The AVMA and its more than 80,000 member veterinarians are engaged in wide variety of activities dedicated to advancing the science and art of animal, human and public health. Visit the AVMA Web site at www.avma.org to learn more about veterinary medicine and animal care.
The AVMF is the veterinary profession's premier philanthropic and charitable organization. For more than 40 years the Foundation has been dedicated to embracing and advancing the well-being and medical care of animals. To learn more about the AVMF, visit www.avmf.org.
The AVMA disaster response efforts, led by the AVMA Veterinary Medical Assistance Teams (VMAT), are funded through the generous support of the American Veterinary Medical Foundation. Your donation to the AVMF will help the Foundation make emergency care available to all animals in times of crisis.