Animal welfare organizations unite to support Haitian animals

Numerous animal aid and veterinary organizations across the United States are uniting under one coalition to help more than 5 million animals displaced by recent earthquakes in Haiti.

The Animal Relief Coalition of Haiti (ARCH) has been formed to assess the needs of Haiti's estimated 5 million livestock, most of which are goats, and unknown large numbers of stray dogs. Emergency care will initially focus on the livestock population, critical to Haiti's long-term recovery, then move to the large stray population, says the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), an ARCH member.

ARCH was co-founded by the World Society for Protection of Animals (WSPA) and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), and members now include AVMA, the American Humane Association, Best Friends, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, United Animal Nations, The Kinship Circle, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and One Voice.

Already pressed for resources, Haitians are scrambling to sift through the rubble left by a 7.0 earthquake Jan. 12 and numerous aftershocks, the largest being a 5.9 aftershock Jan. 20. The primary focus of relief efforts in Haiti continues to be on human needs, including providing food, water and medical attention to the devastated population.

Disease has been forecast as the next major problem, according to the ARCH coalition (PDF). Among the concerns are possible outbreaks of zoonotic diseases such as rabies and leptospirosis.

Teams are gathering in the Dominican Republic, preparing to help tend to animals in Haiti and collect veterinary supplies.

To date there has been no call for veterinary volunteers to help with the Haitian relief, nor for specific veterinary medical supplies, according to Dr. Heather Case, AVMA director of scientific activities and coordinator for emergency preparedness and response.

For ongoing updates, please follow the AVMA and the AVMA VMAT on Twitter (@AVMAvets and @AVMAVMAT) or visit


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