The Parsemus Foundation is a proud supporter of Amici Cannis, an animal welfare organization working in Ecuador. We’ve known the founder, Dr. Heather Steyn, for many years. She built Amici Cannis into an exceptional nonprofit focused on improving the wellbeing of the animals and people of Cotacachi. Amici Cannis adopted a One Health strategy to support optimal health for people, animals, and the environment. Read on for more details of this important mission and how Amici Cannis improves entire communities. Please learn more by visiting their website. Your support of their work can go a long way to making a difference in the lives of hundreds of people and pets.
A One Health approach to animal welfare in indigenous villages in Ecuador
Written by Alexandra Rothlisberger, Executive Director, Amici Cannis
In the heart of Ecuador, nestled between two majestic mountain ranges, lies the vibrant city of Cotacachi. Known for its rich culture and biodiversity, Cotacachi is at the center of many indigenous villages who live in systemic poverty. The lack of access to services of any kind affects everyone in these villages. This creates long-lasting, negative consequences that span generations.
For animals, like Maria, a stray dog that was found limping on the side of a busy road, the consequences are having to fend for themselves, oftentimes being the victims of abuse, or contracting potentially deadly diseases like parvovirus. Maria is not alone in this situation. There are thousands of puppies and kittens being born in rural Ecuador, where people don’t have access to veterinary services for their animals. The number of animals in indigenous villages is so high that it has surpassed the caring capacity. Children and their families do their best to care for these animals, but without access to veterinary services there is little they can do to help them survive.
Children develop strong, affective bonds with dogs like Maria, and often times dogs carry diseases they can transmit to them. The health of animals and the health of individuals is therefore tightly interconnected. Disease contraction and transmission can be avoided with proper preventive veterinary care.
Amici Cannis: Caring for animals, people, and the environment
From its inception, the animal welfare organization Amici Cannis has invested time and resources to provide preventive care to animals like Maria. We focused on sterilization to avoid unwanted litters of puppies and kittens. Vaccinations keep animals and people free of rabies and other deadly diseases.
Amici Cannis adopted a One Health approach to ensure that both animals and people live healthy, happy lives in a harmonious coexistence with each other and the environment. We have focused our efforts largely on empowering indigenous peoples with knowledge and opportunities. Our programs aim to change the way individuals have behaved towards their animals for generations.
At the same time, our ‘Be Kind’ education program recognizes that both animals and people need to be treated with dignity and respect. The ability to obtaining basic services and have those be financially attainable is essential to the congenial relationship between humans and their animals.
Amici Cannis believes that when people are empowered to make the best decision for their families and their animals, the entire community drives the change they know is necessary to improve the quality of life for everyone and everything. For example, our veterinary programs aim to provide services to dogs and cats who need it when they need it. Our empowerment and education programs aim to create generational changes that result in a more balanced, inclusionary, and compassionate world.
We invite you to join our efforts.
For more information, kindly visit our website.