tsunami.jpgOur hearts and prayers go out to the victims and the families affected by the earthquake and tidal wave in Asia.

In the aftermath of one of the worst natural disasters in history, The Humane Society of Canada is also asking people to remember animals, often the forgotten victims in such troubled times. The animal charity says that while there are hundreds of relief agencies and dozens of nations working to help people, there are only a relatively small handful of groups working to help animals.

“Each one of these hard hit communities includes families who are missing their dogs, cats, birds and other pets. Their livestock are needed to provide food, clothing, transportation and for ploughing fields. Critically endangered wildlife species are a part of the natural heritage of each nation,” says HSC Executive Director, Michael O’Sullivan, who has experience working in this part of the world.

“Like people, animals require food, clean water and shelter. Some will die from injuries and disease without veterinary treatment and care. Others will begin competing with people for food resulting in conflicts between people and animals. To give everyone a greater understanding of the numbers of animals we’re talking about, we’ve prepared a table here using United Nations and government sources for just three of the countries affected, namely Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Thailand. Between these countries alone, we are talking about millions of dogs, cats, birds, livestock and wildlife who have been affected,” says O’Sullivan.

“There are tremendous resources being marshaled to provide direct aid to help people, and rightly so. We want to help animals and nature with our special area of expertise. Helping animals is not only the right thing to do, it makes it easier for human relief workers to do their job.

Michael O’Sullivan, HSC Executive Director, who has worked in disaster and war zones says that he has no illusions about the staggering challenges faced by people, animals and nature in overcoming the impact of this terrible disaster.

“What we accomplish, will be measured by one animal at a time. Just a few short years ago, I was carrying out a rescue mission in the burning oil fields of the war zone that was Kuwait. Surrounded by death and destruction, I asked myself how much difference my efforts were really making. And as I looked down at the small girl holding a lamb in her arms, I realized just how much difference it made to both of them.

The animal charity is liaising with its contacts and groups in the affected areas to ensure that their animal relief efforts help the greatest number of animals in the most cost effective way possible.

Donations will be used to support animal relief efforts such as animal food, veterinary care and supplies and transportation in the region.

The Humane Society of Canada has already committed $10,000 of its own funds and is asking others to consider helping animals. All donations are gratefully acknowledged with a receipt for income tax purposes. To make a donation, please click here

CONTACT: Al Hickey or Michael O'Sullivan by toll free 1-800-641-KIND or Michael on his cell phone (416) 876-9685 or at www.humanesociety.com

[For more than 17 years, Al Hickey was the Chief Executive of the BC SPCA and before that headed up the Alberta and BC Chambers of Commerce, and the Executive Director of the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Vancouver. He has 6 grandchildren.

A father with two children, and a houseful of dogs and cats, O'Sullivan has worked across Canada and in over 90 countries during the last 35 years helping people, animals and nature.]

The Humane Society works to protect dogs, cats, horses, birds, livestock, lab animals, wildlife and the environment. They carry out hands on programs to help animals and nature, mount rescue operations, expose cruelty through hard hitting undercover investigations, work to pass laws to protect animals, fund scientific research, support animal shelters and wildlife rehabilitation centres and spread the word about how to help animals and nature through humane education.

The Humane Society of Canada depends entirely on donations to support our programs to help animals and the environment. All donations are gratefully acknowledged with a receipt for income tax purposes. If you would like to support our educational campaigns that protect animals and the environment please make a donation here