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January 1, 2005

HSI - Asia Dispatches Team to Areas Devastated by Tsunami

Humane Society International

WASHINGTON — A team from the Asia Office of Humane Society International will be heading to Phuket, Thailand; Colombo, Sri Lanka; and Medan and Aceh, Sumatra to assess the needs of animals in the areas devastated by the tsunami last week. HSI is the international arm of The Humane Society of the United States.

"Throughout the affected region, communities depend on working farm animals for their livelihoods and survival. In most cases, these animals are the crucial lifeblood of the community," said Neil Trent, executive director of Humane Society International, based in the United States. "By sending a team to these areas, we hope to help the animals, and therefore the people, start to put their lives back on track."

The team, consisting of Sherry Grant, director of HSI Asia, and Dr. Putu Listrianai-Wistawan, the co-founder and director of veterinary medicine for the Bali Street Dog Foundation, plans to arrive in Phuket, Thailand on Sunday, Jan. 2. They will then head to Colombo, Sri Lanka later in the week. Medan and Aceh, Sumatra will be their last stops.

The team will focus their attention to the needs of companion animals, working farm animals, and wildlife, and will travel with veterinary supplies. They will work with local groups and local government officials to identify needs and provide aid where needed. Early reports indicate that some wildlife might have been spared from the tsunami with help from a "sixth-sense;" however, HSI and HSUS animal experts believe that the true fate of many animals, including companion animals and livestock, remains unknown.

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HSI - Asia is a division of Humane Society International, the international branch of the Humane Society of the United States, one of the largest animal protection organizations in the world. Animals are an important part of our environment and their existence depends to large extent on the preservation of that environment. The HSUS and HSI work to relieve the suffering of all animals - companion animals such as dogs and cats, wildlife, animals raised for food, working animals, marine animals, and animals used in research. Visit humanesociety.org or hsiasia.org for more information.

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