A coalition of animal protection groups has arrived in Haiti to aid animals imperiled by the devastating Jan. 12 earthquake. The team represents the Animal Relief Coalition for Haiti (ARCH), which was formed specifically to deal with the Haiti crisis and which includes both the AVMA and American Veterinary Medical Foundation (AVMF) as partners.
The ARCH team has begun meeting with officials from the Haitian government as well as international agencies, such as the United Nations, to define the most pressing animal-related problems as well as identify long-term planning options. Among the concerns are possible outbreaks of zoonotic diseases such as rabies and leptospirosis.
"We had not considered including animals in the plans we're working up now, but after meeting the ARCH team, we can see that it would be good to do so," said Haitian Minister of Environment Jean Marie Claude Germain. "In addition to preventing deforestation and protecting our water reserves, we are also discussing the need for a vaccination program in order to prevent the spread of diseases amongst the animal populations."
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