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Emergency animal welfare team launched

TWO UK registered and respected animal welfare charities, both working internationally, have joined forces in a major new initiative to provide and expand veterinary assistance to animals around the world, including during times of emergency.

The Marchig Animal Welfare Trust and the Worldwide Veterinary Service initiative involves special ‘Marchig Trust/WVS Veterinary Support Teams’ being established and committed to improving the treatment and welfare of animals worldwide.

The immediate priority of the Teams will be within Europe and India, establishing, developing and supporting programmes dedicated to the welfare of animals, including animal birth control and anti-rabies programmes and measures to control zoonotic disease; the provision of veterinary support to needy animal welfare organisations within the areas of operation; developing and promoting best practice protocols for animal welfare; promoting education programmes designed to encourage respect for animals and responsible stewardship; developing and promoting training programmes to increase the skills of local veterinary and animal welfare staff.

Already ‘Marchig Trust/WVS Veterinary Support Teams’ have been to Spain, Ukraine and Croatia, with return trips planned to these countries. Further requests will also see the Teams visit Greece, India, Azerbaijan, Romania, Cyprus and the Italian islands of Sicily and Sardinia. With more and more requests coming in all the time, it is clear that 2008 will be a busy year for the Teams and is an indication of how much they are badly needed.

In addition, from within the Teams, a pioneering ‘Disaster Emergency Rapid Response’ component for animals will also be developed. The aim is to have a ‘Team’ ready to be deployed 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to respond to a crisis situation. It is envisaged that when necessary, the ‘Team’ could be embedded within a recognised humanitarian organisation, thus capable of dealing with the animal welfare situations that ensue from natural or other unforeseen disasters and allowing the humanitarian organisation not to get distracted from its human welfare work.