GAFs main focus is health and welfare for companion animals.
In Myanmar the street dogs are a part of the everyday scene. Many live healthy lives in close relation to humans, especially in rural villages where there is often dogs together with pigs and cows in the family home. In larger towns diseases and injuries are more common. Food is less available or not provided by humans, fights with other dogs occur and diseases spread between dogs living in the same area.
This is why we have concentrated our work in town areas. Many monasteries allow the dogs to live peacefully, and it is a good target area for strengthening the health in their natural habitat. By providing medications and health checks as well as sterilization/spaying, these animals will be able to live good lives in an area where they are fed and live in harmony with their environment.
Our on-site projects consists of giving direct aid to the stray animals that needs help the most; wounded, malnurished or sick dogs/cats in areas where overpopulation is a problem or there is no ownership to the affected animal.
We work on monastaries and other areas where strays are allowed to live in peace, and methodically run ARV (rabies controll) and ABC (birth control) programs. This method of use is recommended by the World Health Organization, and has proven very succesfully in neighbouring countries such as India and Thailand.
Our ABC program consists of the following procedure;
– Neuture: Make sure the animal is safe and healthy.
– Spay or sterilize the dog to controll overpopulation.
– Release: put her/him back in it´s natural environment where it belongs.
Please read more about our sterilzation program HERE and Rabies vaccination HERE.
We also work on other diseases such as cat-flu, and the skin-disease Mange, you find more information about it HERE.
WHY WE DON`T RUN A SHELTER
A shelter can only help a very limited number of dogs. Although these establishments provide a good life for the few selected, the general main-population live outside facing struggles every day. This is why GAFs main goal is to help animals in their natural environment.
The existing shelters in the country do a great job which we full-heartedly support, but our opinion is that there needs to be additional help available for the 99,9% other animals which there are no room for in shelters. Many live on the street, and can continue to have fulfilling lives here if basic medical care is covered for. This method has proven to be the most sustainable long-term solution addressing the stray-population issue in many developing countries.
In terms of sustainability we also emphasize the importance for local communities to establish well functioning responses to the stray-dog within their society. GAF does not take a stand politically and always strive to respect regional customs and culture before we interfere in the life they share with their animals. We only question treatment of animals in respect to inhumane practices.
Our long term goal is to run a mobile veterinary clinic to better assist more animals and reach larger areas. But to achieve this we need further fundings.
Please read more HERE about our future goals.
Please have a look at our galleries for documentation about our work.
We strongly emphasize growing strong local relationships, joining forces with other animal groups where this is useful and cooperating with local governments and officially registered veterinarians. This last part is important to establish trust between small independent groups and the authorities to work for the same cause. Goodwill from local authorities is crucial for long-term projects to function. This is especially important in a country where restrictions for travel or working in certain areas is still to some extent part of the routine. Policymakers in Myanmar that we have worked with have been helpful and understand the benefits for the communities by helping the domestic animals.
As all independent groups have the same goal working for animal welfare, we function as a stronger voice when establishing a network. Such a network is one of GAFs longterm goals.
During the cyclone Komen And flooding of 2015, we had the chance to cooperate with International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) as well as one of Myanmar’s largest Veterinary organizations, Myanmar Veterinary Association (MVA) and the Livestock, Breeding and Veterinary Department (LBVD) to see how all parts involved could assist in a national disaster. Working with a large international organization like IFAW we learned a lot about disaster response and how to better prepare for future episodes. Flooding occur in Myanmar every year, although not as severe as the one in 2015, and companion animals are often highly affected with flues and lung infections.
Separate from this, we have also reached out to several other small animal welfare groups which we collaborate with on certain projects. We are happy to see a growing local interest in animal welfare, and hope for more fruitful collaborations in the future.