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Friday, November 6, 2009

Local Vet and JSOTF-P Treat Animals at VETCAP

By Lt.j.g. Theresa Donnelly, Joint Special Operations Task Force Philippines Public Affairs

Lanao Del Sur, Philippines – In cooperation with one of only two veterinarians in the province, members of Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines treated livestock and pets at a Veterinarian Civil Action Project Nov. 2-3.

The VETCAP was an opportunity for local residents to receive free care and education on their animals. Locals spent the first day in a seminar and brought their livestock on the following day for treatment. Many of the area’s barangay chairmen and instructors from the college attended the classroom portion and learned methods of treating sick animals, how to give shots and prevent diseases.

Additionally, members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines 103rd Brigade, Alpha Company provided security, making the project a collaborative effort of both militaries and local leadership.

“It was great to see all the barangay chairmen and leadership from the Lumbayanague municipality attends this today. It is very beneficial to our people as many of them are engaged in farming,” said Arimao S. Asum, the school’s superintendent.

With so few veterinarians locally, JSOTF-P veterinarian U.S. Army Lt. Col. Stephen Goldsmith emphasized the importance of farmers learning to treat animals themselves, and steps they can take to have healthier, more productive livestock and pets.

“A sick animal cannot produce meat, milk or other products. You want to do what you can to try and keep your animals healthy,” he said.

With help from Dr. Pendatun R. Masanang, from the Philippine Carabao Center (who served as a translator), Goldsmith described the kinds of injections planned for the VETCAP. Additionally, the veterinarian team passed out pamphlets from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, describing what to do if they suspect their poultry have contracted avian influenza.

The following day, local residents brought cows, cats, horses, dogs, goats and roosters for treatment. The animals received deworming medication, vitamins and two puppies received rabies vaccinations.

Many members of the local community watched as military technicians treated animals. In this area, professionalized animal care is virtually non-existent, making the need for these services vital for the livelihood of the community.

Those attending the workshop were given information on how to maintain the health of their animals. Healthier animals produce more offspring, milk, meat etc and may improve the economic situation of the community.

“We are very much thankful for the efforts of the U.S. team here for helping our animals and finding alternative ways to receive medicines,” said Masanang.

JSOTF-P is temporarily deployed in southern Philippines at the request of the Philippine government. Troops stationed here work with the Armed Forces of the Philippines, providing assistance with a variety of different humanitarian and civil assistance projects.

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