The Role of Non Government Organizations in the Canadian Veterinary Reserves

Michael Belanger and Carin Wittnich

Oceanographic Environmental Research Society, 12 Burton Avenue, Barrie, Ontario, Canada, L4N 2R2

The Canadian Veterinary Reserves (CVR) is the major component of the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association’s emergency response plan for ensuring the health, welfare and care of pets/ livestock/wildlife trapped in disasters. The CVR is composed of veterinarians, animal health technicians and non Government Organizations (NGOs). NGOs play an important role in providing crucial services during and after any response to save, feed and house animals.

Unlike other members of the CVR, NGOs are a collection of various groups who have responsibility for a wide range of activities making them key players in any emergency involving pets, livestock and wildlife. Rescuing injured or trapped animals, housing and care, cleaning and decontaminating, transporting to and from a disaster scene, arranging of supplies and food, unifying of the pets with their owners are only some of their responsibilities.

We will describe an organizational response plan to organize NGOs into a cohesive group. This plan will include standardized training programs, equipment required, volunteer organization, and safety requirements. As well, emergency training efforts or plans for the rescue of animals must consider Canadian regulations or disaster relief plans so that a safe co-ordinated effort can be undertaken.

Pertinence: Disasters such as Hurricane Katrina or infectious diseases (Avian bird flu, SARS) demonstrated the need for the integration and training of all NGOs thereby creating a well organized and efficient group. The result would be the maximum use of all resources in reducing suffering of animals and saving as many lives as possible.

Presented as a poster at the Caring for Crisis Meeting 2007