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Help on its way for animals in Samoa

News release
2 October 2008

Help on its way for animals in tsunami stricken Samoa

A disaster response team, led by the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) and supported by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) and the SPCA, will be heading to Samoa tomorrow to relieve the suffering of thousands of animals caught up in Wednesday’s devastating tsunami.

WSPA New Zealand’s regional manager and chair of the country’s National Animal Welfare Emergency Management Group, Melissa Brown said animals were often the forgotten victims of disasters, yet their survival and wellbeing was critical for the recovery of the communities which rely on them.

The team is due to arrive in Apia tomorrow morning. Its first task will be to assess how many animals have been affected and provide emergency veterinary care to those in need. Emergency feed will be sourced if required.

The people of Samoa are heavily reliant on their cattle, pigs and chickens. The islands also have a significant dog population.

The WSPA disaster assessment and response team is led by WSPA’s Costa Rican based Disaster Management Veterinary Co-ordinator, Juan Carlos Murillo. Mr Murillo played a pivotal role in WSPA’s disaster relief work following last year’s hurricane in Cuba and the 2007 hurricane in Nicaragua.

Other members of the team include Auckland SPCA inspector, Vicki Border; Wellington SPCA chief inspector, Ritchie Dawson; MAF senior advisor, Dr Roger Poland and WSPA Programmes Manager, Bridget Vercoe.

MAF Director of Animal Welfare, David Bayvel, says that MAF values highly its relationship with the SPCA at the national level and WSPA at the international level. WSPA is internationally recognised as the leader in the field of management of animal welfare during natural disasters. We are pleased that experienced MAF veterinarian, Dr Roger Poland has been invited to join the team going to Samoa to assist with this vital work.

Ms Brown said WSPA works to align animal welfare and humanitarian agendas to reduce poverty, hunger and disease in humans. Equally, by complimenting humanitarian efforts in this way we increase the number of animals we protect.


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