June 10, 2010
HSI Helps Animal Victims of China Earthquake
by Peter Li
China’s April 14, 2010 earthquake was a disaster that killed at least 2,200 people, injuring thousands more. Tens of thousands of animals were victims as well.
Yushu, the epicenter of the quake, lies on the Qinghai and Tibetan Plateau, which is populated by ethnic Tibetans. It is also a region where some 100,000 Tibetan mastiffs are raised as pets or watchdogs.
Disaster responders witnessed the sad scene of wounded mastiffs wandering about looking for their families and scrounging for food in conditions made worse by extreme weather. While government relief efforts focused on human victims, Hong Shi Liu Animal Protection Group in Xi’an initiated a massive animal rescue initiative in the days after the earthquake. HSI responded quickly to the group’s appeal for a collaborative rescue campaign, wiring emergency funds to help ship emergency dog food and supplies to the area.
By May 20, three truckloads of relief supplies had arrived. Tibetan mastiffs living among the ruins, begging around Tibetan monasteries, and huddled in the backyards of peasant households benefited from this vital aid. HSI also supported Chinese animal advocates working hard on the plateau to rescue and provide veterinary care to other animals traumatized by the event, including assisting a local government shelter with setting up humane and scientific procedures for animal care.
Humane Society International is proud to be part of the rescue and relief operation in China. We congratulate Xi’an Hong Shiliu Group and our other partners for their proactive approach. We believe our assistance in the wake of this terrible disaster served our objective of facilitating humane change on the Chinese mainland.
Peter Li is HSI's China Specialist.