What's Happening: Humane Society International
In most developing countries, homeless animals, many of them thin and mangy, roam the streets. While it may appear that no one cares about these creatures, you’d be surprised: There are thousands of animal protection organizations working hard every day, despite their tiny budgets and enormous challenges, to end the suffering of street animals in poorer nations.
Humane Society International (HSI), an arm of The HSUS, extends its reach into most regions of the world and has created strong ties with many of these international groups. We’ve developed resources and designed networks specifically aimed at helping struggling organizations move forward with their work for animals. The HSI Electronic Library offers articles in seven languages on topics ranging from shelter operations to fundraising. AnimaliA (the Animal Information Alliance), an electronic listserv that connects animal protectionists worldwide, provides a problem-solving forum on animal issues.
In the United States, we are fortunate to have public shelters and animal control agencies that handle animal homelessness issues humanely. We also have laws that protect these animals. But in the developing world, very few laws pertain to the protection of any animals, least of all those who live in the streets. Seldom do governments take responsibility for homeless animal problems, leaving them in the hands of the compassionate few who spend their own time, money, and effort caring for these abandoned creatures.
In an effort to enhance the success of these organizations, HSI provides a special program at The HSUS’s annual Animal Care Expo, presenting workshops focused on animal problems common to most developing countries. HSI offers scholarships to groups that will benefit from the Expo experience and, through the generosity of humane societies in this country, runs an internship program that allows individuals from abroad to spend a week observing and working in an American shelter. Following the exchange of information, many international attendees return home with renewed enthusiasm and fresh ideas for improving the lives of animals in their countries.
Kelly O’Meara is the Program Manager for Asia and Africa for Humane Society International.