Readers know about my gripe on cruelty to bears, especially bear-bile victims like “Peace”. This time, more than bears are affected. In reference to Disaster Relief – Where does your help go?, please also spare a thought for the animal victims of the disasters if you are able to help.
AnimalsAsia.org is not only caring for the bear victims they rescued from the cruel bear-bile farms of China, they are also helping other animal victims of the earthquake, being in the quake zone itself. Though the sanctuary structure and the bears are safe, some of the buildings are not. Despite this, the workers remain more anxious for the bears and are determined to stay on despite orders to evacuate. In addition, they are making daily trips into the disaster zone to rescue trapped animals and going to refugee camps to treat and offer to foster pets (more here), as China authorities have instituted a cull-on-sight policy regarding all non-human survivors. Note that the animalsasia team helps not only animal but human victims as well.
They are also trying to reach the bear-victims still trapped in affected farms, even though their efforts are not reciprocated.
Here are excerpts from the latest post on the animalsasia blog about their quake rescue work:
As of today, 112 dogs and five cats have been rescued from the earthquake.
However, arriving in to Dujiangyiang only about half of the people had showed …The local policy and cull is not an idle threat and any dogs and cats found will be killed, so we will need to follow up with more calls and persuade them to come in.
Two minutes later a tiny tabby kitten was also thrust into our hands – both would need to come back to our hospital for some extra care.
This lovely old man (pictured below with “Tudo” and Heather) had come to us a week earlier with his small spitz dog.
“This dog is very special. He saved his owner’s life”. Intrigued, we asked the man to tell his story.
He recounted how on 12 May, he was at home making his bed and changing sheets. Suddenly his dog, “Tudo”, (potato in Chinese) started behaving bizarrely, snapping at the man’s legs and then running outside. Puzzled, the old man followed the dog and seconds later the earthquake hit, causing the man’s entire house to collapse. “This dog saved my life,” he said. “His life is as important as my own, I do not want to lose him, but now I am living in a tent and hiding him. I am worried he will be taken away. Also I can no longer get meat for him and so I have been feeding him rice and noodles, but I think he will get sick”.
Judy, our tireless volunteer, had asked if we were going back to the pet market to see if there were any animals we’d previously missed and, as the day was quiet, we thought it was probably a good idea to return. I’m so glad we did. There in a tiny cage was an even tinier golden retriever; so frail, bone-thin legs – and rickets. The pet shop owner said he wanted to keep him because he was still worth money and my heart dropped.
Rainbow was not deterred however, and began quietly talking with the man while I opened the cage door and scooped up a feather-light animal weighing a fraction of what he should. I don’t know what Rainbow said, but within minutes the pet shop owner simply said we could have him for free because he knew this dog would be going to a good home. We didn’t waste any time and virtually ran out of the square with “Richter” in our arms, into the van, and home.
The AnimalsAsia folks are doing what they can, trying to care for the bears and animals already at the sanctuary and taking in as many as they are able to. Please help them to help the victims of the earthquake.
Here’s an appeal email from AnimalsAsia sent on 4 Jun 08 for reference:
We need your help urgently!
Dear calsifer,It’s now almost three weeks since the devastating earthquake hit Sichuan inand the full horror of the tragedy is really hitting home. As many as 90,000 people could have died in the quake and its aftershocks, which are still causing panic throughout the province. More than 365,000 people are injured, many of them also losing their homes and livelihoods.
Animals Asia is extremely fortunate and grateful that no staff or animals at our Moon Bear Rescue Centre in Chengdu were hurt, but we too are facing a difficult time. We are in urgent need of donations to deal with two emergencies arising from the earthquake. First we are racing against time to rescue dogs and cats from a town in northern Sichuan, where the authorities have ordered a cull of all companion animals; and second, we need to rebuild four of the buildings at our sanctuary.
Four of our main buildings, including the big office and accommodation blocks have been so badly damaged that they will need to be completely rebuilt at a cost of hundreds of thousands of US dollars. A fifth building needs repairs. Initially, onsite staff (who launched an immediate donations drive among themselves for earthquake victims) were sleeping on the floors of the quarantine area for new bear arrivals, but are now crammed into the remaining buildings that have been deemed safe.
But rebuilding will come later. Right now, there are more urgent needs. Rescuing already traumatised family dogs and cats from being shot or beaten to death in the city of Dujiangyiang – one of the worst-hit areas is our highest priority. The authorities there have ordered a cull of all dogs and cats, even if they have owners, adding to the misery of survivors who are clinging to their pets for comfort.
We have set up a hotline and a receiving station at a local vet clinic for earthquake victims to surrender their dogs to us for safe-keeping until they are back on their feet and can take them back. Many people, terrified that their much-loved dogs would be killed in front of them have been hiding them in the ruins of their homes and risking their lives to go and feed them.
We have promised those who have handed us their pets that we will make sure they are well cared for. If, after six months, they are still unable to take their pets back, we will continue to look after them until they can be reunited. If they decide they can’t take their pets back, we will try to rehome the animals.
So far, we have rescued around 100 dogs and brought them to Chengdu’s Qi Ming Pet Rescue Centre, which can take about 100 more. We have also rescued some cats and a few starving dogs that have been found wandering around looking for food. We are giving each a health check and vaccination and will build a quarantine facility for the dogs at the shelter and provide them with food. All this too, of course, will cost money – and we’re not sure how long we’ll have to provide for these dogs.
I am the first person to question where donations are going in a crisis situation and I can assure you that any donation you make to our earthquake appeal will go directly to our work rescuing dogs and cats from the earthquake zone, vaccinating against rabies, building quarantine kennels at the Qi Ming shelter and supplying other local shelters with food and medical help. Being here on the ground, I will ensure your donation goes first to distraught dogs and cats. Any funds left over will go to rebuilding our bear sanctuary.
Given the enormity of the Sichuan tragedy, this is a difficult time for us to raise funds, as donors are understandably channelling their donations to the human victims of the earthquake. So please, if you are considering donating to the earthquake relief effort, remember that animals are victims too – and by giving to us, you may be helping to save the only family member a survivor has left.
Jill Robinson MBE
Founder and CEO
Animals Asia Foundation
PS: Don’t forget to check my blog for regular updates on how we’re helping earthquake survivors – both animals and people.
For more information visit Jill blog – www.animalsasia.org/blog
To donate now please go to our website www.animalsasia.org.
Thank you for reading.