Veterinarians Without Borders says a $3 million grant will help it continue offering veterinary services in northern communities for the next six years.
The Northern Animal Health Initiative, which sees veterinarians travel to communities in Nunavut and the Northwest Territories, started as a pilot program in 2019. The non-profit said they have since administered more than 630 vaccinations, spayed and neutered nearly 200 animals, and provided other services through temporary clinics.
In a press release on Thursday, Veterinarians Without Borders said the new grant – from Kim and Stu Lang through their charity, The Angel Gabriel Foundation – will help to expand the program to more communities, and build local capacity to address animal care needs.
The organization also plans to offer a bursary program to young people in the territories pursuing an education in veterinary medicine or animal care with the goal of building expertise within communities.
“The Lang’s support will enable VWN and our northern community partners to build a sustainable framework that will create the conditions for lasting, community-driven animal health,” non-profit executive Charmaine Brett said in a statement.
According to a study conducted on behalf of Veterinarians Without Borders in 2017, 54 remote communities across the three territories had little or no access to veterinary services.
In those communities, the organization said animals can die from preventable or treatable causes. The inability to control dog populations is also a safety risk to community members, and unvaccinated animals can transfer diseases like rabies to humans.