Since 1877 one charity has been at the forefront of virtually every major advance in protecting children, pets and farm animals from cruelty, abuse and neglect; the American Humane Association.

On Valentine’s day this year, members of the organization made a special trip to Japan to continue their support for the animal victims of the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

American Humane Association President and CEO Dr. Robin Ganzert, whose organization has already sent a shipment of supplies and financial donations immediately following the earthquake on March 11, 2011, conducted site visits and met privately with leaders from Japanese relief agencies that have been helping animals left homeless by the disaster one year ago in order to determine the continuing need to shelter and save the lives of thousands of animals still in jeopardy.

American Humane Association says they hope to achieve two major goals in coming to Japan:

First, to arrange a schedule of financial support to those groups that are caring for and trying to help animals left homeless by the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster.

And second, to extend an offer to share the organization’s more than 100 years of experience in disaster relief to help Japan’s communities prepare for and protect children and animals against future disasters.

“When the disasters occurred in Japan, our hearts went out to all the communities affected by those devastating events, and we immediately initiated contact with our international partners to discuss how we could help,” said American Humane Association President and Chief Executive Officer Robin R. Ganzert, Ph.D.

“To help with the immediate need, we sent a shipment of shelter supplies and a one-million yen financial grant to local relief agencies in Japan.”

Since 1916, American Humane Association has operated the internationally renowned Red Star Animal Emergency Services program.

Red Star rescue services have been involved not only in nearly every major relief in the United States over the past century, but major international relief efforts, including rescuing horses on the battlefields of Europe during World War I and the efforts to save and shelter animals following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti.

American Humane Association’s Red Star program is an acknowledged leader of management in disaster preparedness and has also compiled and is offering to translate into Japanese a series of prevention tips to protect children, animals, families and communities from hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, and other disasters.

“Much good has been accomplished by the noble work of the local Japanese relief groups,” Ganzert explains, “But nearly a year later there is still much to do and thousands of animals who still need help.”

“In this way, we hope to help improve current conditions for those still in need, and better protect entire communities in the future.”

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Photo: Japan’s most loved canine, Hachiko. Creative Commons.