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Animal Suffering Post Tsunami

Wednesday 5th January 2005

Animal suffering likely to mirror humanitarian tsunami tragedy

The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA), an international
UN-recognised charity representing nearly 500 member organisations worldwide, warned today that the humanitarian tsunami tragedy is likely to be mirrored in the plight of affected animals in the crisis-hit region of South East Asia.

Although wildlife is likely to have escaped largely unscathed, WSPA is concerned at the fate of domesticated animals unable to flee the force of the tsunami and those surviving animals whose fate is so closely linked with that of the people in the region.

With decades of experience in dealing with animals caught up in disasters, WSPA is mobilising and coordinating resources from animal welfare organisations around the world in an international relief effort to help the animal victims of this disaster. The exact nature of this response will be informed by a series of assessments, currently underway by WSPA’s network of member societies in the region.

Major General Peter Davies CB, WSPA Director General, said, “The effects of the earthquake and subsequent tsunami have become a tragedy of truly horrendous proportions for people and animals alike. In the countries badly hit by this disaster, livestock and working animals are vital to the lives of rural communities that depend upon them for their very survival.

Surviving animals are likely to be at increased risk of disease and infections that typically follow in the wake of natural catastrophes and we can only begin to guess at the numbers of trapped, sick or starving animals that, like their owners, are in desperate need of help.

Supplies of vital veterinary medicines, such as antibiotics, can make the difference between life and death for animals in the aftermath of disaster and helping animals has a real impact on the long-term process of people rebuilding their shattered lives, particularly in farming communities.”

ENDS

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