We are running a special cocktail all this week in the Franklins, 100% of the proceeds of which go to supporting the International Fund for Animal Welfare’s heroic efforts in Haiti. We knew we had to do something to help but were not sure, with so much human suffering if it would be too soon to think of the animals. After much research it became apparent to me that the suffering is intertwined. I have never been able to get the image from my thoughts of the screaming & crying young boy being dragged on a bus while they ripped his dog away from him during evacuation from the Superdome (after Katrina). It is not just about the comfort a pet brings in these emotionally draining times; The animals of Haiti are in many cases, critical to the survival and livelihood of the people. The IFAW is seeing and treating thousands of livestock, household pets and street animals.
I spoke with IFAW representatives about the situation on the ground in Haiti today and what they had to say was very compelling. They are shipping over a State of the Art Mobile Lab this week that will be able to care for many types of animals in major parts of the city. As the roads are cleared this Facility will be able to get to every part of the City. They are going into areas and speaking to the Senior leaders letting them know they are coming back the next day and to let people know in case they have animals with medical issues. In every case they come back the next day and lines of people are there waiting. Because of the poverty there are not many household pets, but there are some and they are being treated. Many for the first time in their lives. There is also a large not quite ferrel street animal population that are being treated, fed, spayed & neutered.
Overall, the IFAW is looking upon this as an opportunity to effect permanent change in Haiti. They are creating five Semi-Temporary & Fixed facilities around the population centers that abandoned animals can be dropped off at. Something that has never been there before. These will have Clinics that sick animals can receive proper medical care. The lead teams from IFAW were very pleasantly surprised to find that Haiti has a fairly large quantity of Veterinarians that have been unemployed due to poor infrastructure and lack of ability for people to pay in such a impoverished society. This will allow IFAW to create permanent Jobs for many of these Haitian professionals and help establish a Haitian animal well being infrastructure long after the immediate crisis has subsided.
It is in times like these that I feel most proud to be in the business I’m in. The Boston Restaurant community has stepped up to help in the most impressive way; and the patrons who fuel this relief giving make it possible. It is truly reflective of the role restaurants have played for centuries as a central part of the community. As part of peoples daily lives. We in Boston are part of a global society and we prove it every time a crisis occurs. Ultimately, as cliche as the saying is, the measure of a Society is in how it treats it weakest members, thank you Boston for measuring up.
Chef Dave DuBois 2/2/10