Humanity and compassion know no boundaries. The devastating images and reports coming in from Japan have left us all heartbroken, and with a feeling of absolute helplessness. On behalf of the board of directors and staff of American Humane Association, we offer the people of Japan our prayers and condolences in this most challenging of times.
When the horrific disaster in Japan occurred, American Humane Association immediately began inquiring into how the animal victims could be helped. The leadership team was awakened in the early morning hours last Friday to start preparing the crisis response. As you know, American Humane Association’s Red Star Animal Emergency Services™ has been providing emergency relief for animals in disasters and other emergencies since 1916, including locations overseas, such as Haiti after the devastating earthquake in 2010. We have 95 years of experience in animal rescues, and each tragic event offers lessons learned for the protection of animals in subsequent disasters. The crisis in Japan continues to unfold minute by minute. And we are in close contact with our international partners as discussions take place with the Japanese government to assess the needs of animals and determine the best approaches for responding to those needs. Indeed, the threat of radiation exposure adds another layer of complexity to an already challenging set of circumstances.
A September 2010 animal welfare survey conducted by the Japanese Cabinet Office indicated that 34% of the Japanese population has a household pet, with 59% owning dogs and 31% owning cats. With a reported 690,000* people evacuated or displaced from their homes, it is possible that up to a quarter of a million pets may require rescue and emergency sheltering. We know from experience that there will be a need for financial and other resources to help those animals. In light of the magnitude of this crisis, we immediately established a relief fund, as reported on CNN’s News Blog. Our goal is to save time — and hopefully lives — by having funds on hand to apply to animal rescue in Japan as soon as appropriate partners and local animal welfare agencies are located and specific plans are implemented to help the animals. Our Red Star team stands ready to assist, as we champion American values of compassion, caring and hope.
[*The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported March 13, 2011, that approximately 380,000 people have been evacuated from the tsunami and earthquake affected areas and are being sheltered in 2,050 evacuation centers. According to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), authorities have also evacuated another 210,000 people living within a 20-km (12-mile) radius around the nuclear power plants. Total estimates are that nearly 690,000 people have been displaced from their homes.]
Remember: Red Star – Always There. Everywhere. 95 Years of Experience with Animal Rescues Around the Globe.
Text PROTECT to 85944 to donate $10 to support our efforts to provide aid to animal victims of disaster.