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New grants program to help the hidden victims of COVID-19


27 July 2020 at 4:59 pm
Luke Michael
Coronavirus is having a dire impact on the wellbeing of animals around the world 


Luke Michael | 27 July 2020 at 4:59 pm


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New grants program to help the hidden victims of COVID-19
27 July 2020 at 4:59 pm

Coronavirus is having a dire impact on the wellbeing of animals around the world 

Amid the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, Animals Australia is establishing an emergency grants program to ensure animals are not left behind in the global relief effort. 

Advocates warn that the global shutdown of the tourist trade has major implications for animals, with many facing long periods of being chained, while others are sold off or starve as owners are no longer able to feed them.  

This comes as fundraising and other income sources for animal rescue and protection groups are drying up, leading Animals Australia to take action.

Its Global Emergency Grants program has already helped 35 animal protection groups in Australia, Indonesia, India, Palestine, Uruguay, Colombia, Lebanon, the Philippines, Thailand and Egypt.  

Lyn White from Animals Australia said the virus not only has broad human implications, but also dire impacts for animals as well. 

“In many countries, the absence of tourists has led to an inability to feed animals used in tourism-related enterprises. Animals from elephants to equines are bearing the consequences of no longer having financial worth to their owners,” White said.

“Restaurant closures have meant street animals dependent on their scraps have lost their food source and thousands of animals in countries such as India are dependent on local animal welfare groups to stay alive. 

“Some of the images, especially from Egypt of Pyramid horses suffering from terrible neglect, have been heart-breaking.” 

This grants program has helped provide food to hundreds of elephants within riding camps in Thailand, fed millions of street animals who rely solely on food from tourists, and assisted Animals Australia’s vet team in Indonesia to offer free vet care to street animals.

White said while lockdowns remained, there was a critical need to provide ongoing support for street and working animals.      

“And this need goes far beyond feeding hungry animals. Grants have also been used by some groups to implement spay and neutering programs and during the recent heatwave in India to help provide animal watering stations through the city in Delhi and Jaipur,” she said.  

The program has also been used to establish an emergency fund for COVID-affected animal rescue groups in Australia.   

Louise Bonomi from Animals Australia told Pro Bono News that local rescue groups were struggling.

She said Animals Australia has provided $100,000 to PetRescue which facilitated grants to their member rescue groups whose operations were severely affected by the crisis. 

“Many Australian rescue groups have had to cancel key fundraising events that support their frontline work throughout the year,” Bonomi said.

“These events literally put food in the mouths and roofs over the heads of animals in need. Lockdowns, social distancing and restricted travel have also had a significant impact on the operations of many groups whether it be rehoming or treating animals in their care.”

You can find out more about the emergency grants program here.


Luke Michael  |  Journalist  |  @luke_michael96

Luke Michael is a journalist at Pro Bono News covering the social sector.

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