|Photo Credit: Live to Rescue|
This photograph, taken at the municipal tip in Leh, Ladakh, shows the scale of the street dog population in the local area. VBB Partners working to prevent an animal welfare crisis during COVID-19
The plight of companion and street animals in some countries has become an emerging issue since the Coronavirus outbreak. Reportedly, companion animals are being abandoned as a result of COVID-19 misinformation incriminating animals in the spread of the disease. Street animals are at risk of starving due to a lockdown of businesses that previously provided them with food.
In India, many animals, including dogs, cats, cattle, donkeys and goats, depend on restaurants and hotels around cities, towns and villages as a main source of food. In the Himalaya, activity in these establishments is very much dependent on tourism. At the present time, visitors are staying away due to travel restrictions.
In Ladakh, our friends at SPCA and Live to Rescue have been feeding the street animals, but because of hotel and restaurant shutdowns, food is scarce and animals are suffering. Recently, the SPCA received a donation from the Himalayan Nature Club of 100,000 rupees (approx. AU$2,150) to purchase food for these animals.
Elsewhere in India, volunteers with Animals and US, an organisation working closely with VBB’s Sikkim Anti-Rabies & Animal Health (SARAH) program, are preparing and distributing food for the street dogs of Sikkim during the lockdown.
Volunteers from another Partner Organisation, Just Be Friendly (JBF), are directly assisting animal welfare efforts, providing food to Assam Police and The Paw Foundation to feed to street animals in Guwahati, Assam.
A Cambodian Partner Organisation, PPAWS in Phnom Penh, is feeling the impact of the COVID-19 crisis. They have put on hold all of their outbound missions and are concentrating on keeping their two clinics open, to help clients with sick animals and any injured/stray animals that may be brought in.
VBB VetMatch Cambodia coordinator Alan Sinfield at PPAWS said, “Presently there is no major lock down on travel, so to the best of our knowledge, the volunteers who go out and help the Monks with caring and feeding for animals at the Pagodas, for example, are still doing so. We are still supporting them with medical care wherever we are needed and handling all the usual requests for support that we receive when animals are spotted on the streets. This will change if hard restrictions on travel are introduced.”
Amidst the COVID-19 human health crisis we continue our efforts to minimise animal welfare impacts and commend the efforts of all our Partner Organisations, including those in Sikkim, Ladakh and Cambodia.