Note: This blog has been updated since posting to include the recent happenings from PETA’s work in Palawan. Read on!
PETA Asia, which has had an office in the Philippines for nearly a decade, has managed, despite difficulties with transportation and logistics, to help some of the animals affected by Typhoon Haiyan.
PETA coordinated the delivery of food and medication to giraffes and other animals stranded on Calauit Island, a wildlife sanctuary. The giraffes, many of whom were injured during the storm by flying debris, lost their food supply when trees were uprooted during the powerful storm. Bringing them supplies was difficult, as rocky seas caused a four-hour journey to become a 12-hour one. PETA’s caseworker Jana Sevilla slept on the delivery boat in the middle of the ocean after the team couldn’t travel any farther because of rains and a lack of light.
PETA has also helped in Coron, a popular resort province in northern Palawan which is reported to have lost 90 percent of its hotels. Along with essential care, the team is handing out food supplies to people with dogs and cats and giving care to injured or sick animals. Some animals have not had a regular source of nourishment since the storm hit. PETA has helped Four Paws, a European group of veterinarians, find supplies, orient themselves, and assisted them in delivering first aid and rabies vaccinations to animals left in need. The team has also distributed food to starving farmed animals who had nothing to eat. This vital relief work is the first in this region. While giving aid, the team is also trying to assess the damage and the area’s future needs. PETA is also on a government advisory committee that’s examining how to help animal victims of this and future disasters.
One PETA team has just returned from Zamboanga in the southern Philippines, where rebels burned down part of the city in September. With the assistance of the military, PETA was able to get into the areas that are still off-limits to the public. We worked with the government’s city veterinarian to get him the supplies that he needed in order to continue to run the municipal shelter. We taught his staff humane handling techniques, gave mange treatment to dogs, cared for many suffering dogs and cats, and assisted in catching every dog and cat we saw in the uninhabited areas, most of whom were severely emaciated, having had no regular food supply since the community had been evacuated.
Although PETA aided a great number of animals who had been affected by the typhoon, we were also able to help animals in these areas who otherwise would have gone their entire lives without receiving any medical care. Here’s an excerpt from the report of the team:
Today, I met Spike, a sweet, 8-year-old mutt who resembled an Airdale terrier, only he had no fur. Spike arrived at our temporary clinic with his owner and Julia, a vibrant 6-month-old puppy. His owner told me that he has had Spike for most of his life, after taking over caring for him from a neighbor who could no longer afford to give Spike a home. Spike also had a large wound on his shoulder, which his owner explained happened when he escaped to another neighborhood and was stabbed. He had a very bad case of sarcoptic mange, resulting in bald patches covering most of his body, and was very underweight, which is common in animals infected with mange. A veterinarian traveling with us gave Spike and Julia rabies vaccinations, cleaned Spike’s wound, and injected him with a powerful anti-parasitic. I had a bottle of mange shampoo in my bag, which I gave to Spike’s owner, along with follow-up medication for the mange, a spot-treatment to prevent re-infection, and antibiotics. Spike’s owner was grateful that he could finally cure Spike of his discomfort. If our team had not been in the area, I’m sure Spike would have faced years of this horrible skin condition. I was too busy trying to stop him from scratching his raw, cracked skin to get a picture of him.
Because the situation for animals is so dire in the Philippines, PETA is in the country all year round, and we will continue to help animals here at every opportunity. We pressure legislators to create positive change for animals. The animal-welfare legislation in the country has just been strengthened, and we are sitting on committees to improve regulations concerning animal shelters and the use of animals in films. We also educate people about the importance of spaying and neutering. We are fighting to get Mali, the lone elephant at the Manila Zoo, the care that she needs. And we continue to be the force behind ensuring that the couple who allegedly produced cruel “crush” videos is prosecuted. We help dogs, cats, monkeys, crocodiles, rabbits, and birds day in and day out. In their free time, our staff members and interns run a spay-and-neuter/veterinary care program in an impoverished area, and others volunteer at the government disaster center to pack relief goods at every opportunity. People who are concerned about animals in the Philippines just as we are should know that PETA is leading the way – and we’re not leaving. We are also on the ground and running campaigns concerning many issues in other countries in Asia.
Posted by Jason Baker