Situation in Haiti

AnaiRhoads.org -- In response to the catastrophic 7.0 earthquake in
Haiti this week, non-profit animal welfare groups joined forces with
the Animal Relief Coalition for Haiti (ARCH). The International Fund
for Animal Welfare (IFAW) created this organisation and subsequent
collaboration with the groups in order to rescue the animals who were
left behind after the quake. Seems like a worthy cause, but nothing
seems to fit.

The ASPCA announced in its press release, "There are an estimated 5
million head of livestock in the country (mostly goats)."

The area hardest hit did in fact have goats, as the non-profit groups
pointed out. However, the 5 million figure for livestock was been
greatly exaggerated.

The ASPCA and HSUS also claimed that there are companion animals.
"...a large stray dog population, an untold number of companion
animals." This is really tough sell, in an area so poor that scanning
trash for food was the norm. It would be utter suicide for the more
than 80 percent of those are poor in the country to house and feed a
companion animal. Approximately 57 percent were deeply impoverished,
and the figure is now expected to rise significantly.

"I didn't see one cat while I was there, and I would have noticed that
because I'm very much a cat person," said James Patrick Jordan, who
was in Haiti for a human rights delegation just six days prior to the
quake. "There didn't appear to be a lot of overcrowded factory farming
of animals, and since they weren't, as a rule, confined to buildings
that would have fallen on them."

In 2008, a series of strong storms ravished Haiti, which wiped out
most of the livestock and crops. The people there were left with
nothing and the situation was grim. Food prices were distended and
children were in desperate need of aid. Before Tuesday's quake, it was
said that Haiti never fully recovered from these storms. Jordan told
AnaiRhoads.org that the people mainly survived sparingly on goats, and
that there were no companion animals. This fits with the statistics
left over from the 2008 storms.

The groups involved in raising funds for a mass number of animals,
which don't seem to exist, includes the World Society for the
Protection of Animals (WSPA). The ASPCA and its number of animal
welfare groups, are also involved. These include American Humane, Best
Friends, HSUS and Humane Society International (HSI).

The ASPCA's alert also states, "IFAW and WSPA have also begun to stock
a mobile clinic with vaccines, antibiotics, bandages, food, and other
supplies in anticipation of bringing direct aid to animals." In an e-
mail sent out to its members on 13 January, IFAW had stated that it
would wait 1-2 weeks before heading into Haiti.

The animals are being eaten at a rapid pace. By the time anyone steps
in - there will be none to save. During such a cataclysmic natural
disaster, one would think of saving all living things not just those
they deem "valuable."

IFAW statement - "As always with disasters like this, the humanitarian
rescue efforts will be the focus in the first week or so... The
immediate priorities will be getting food, clean water, shelter and
medical attention to the survivors."

Knowing this and knowing that in 2008 nearly everything was wiped out
to feed over 9 million people in Haiti, IFAW chose to wait. The main
objective of this org, and the other orgs collaborating with them, is
to save animals and not necessarily human-animals.

"After those immediate human needs are met, IFAW's Emergency Response
team will be ready to assist the animal victims in any way that we
can."

Piles of dead men, women and children strewn the streets. Over 40
percent of the population consisted of children under the age of 14
prior to the quake. The mortuaries cannot keep up with the bodies.
People are languishing in the hot sun, wandering aimlessly desperate
for shade.

Several women have given birth this week - without assistance. They
are encouraged to breastfeed, all the while having nothing to eat or
drink to sustain their flow. Those with babies caught in this
nightmare, who were not breastfed, are now using contaminated water to
mix baby formula.

The wounded are piling up in hospitals. Many are being treated by the
side of the road. The situation in Haiti is grim and waiting for aid
is not an option. That's the reality.

Being an animal and human rights advocate for the last 17 years, I can
tell you that supporting orgs which only focus on one or the either in
times like this, should not be supported. Especially ones that toy
with our emotions through misleading campaigns with exaggerated
figures.


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