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Media Release: Major Grant Investment in Northern Animal Health Initiative from Kim and Stu Lang

Remote northern communities and veterinary volunteers work together to reduce incidents of rabies, provide spay and neuter surgeries, and animal care training.

OTTAWA, ON (February 3, 2022) – Veterinarians without Borders (VWB) is delighted to announce that a grant of $3M (CA) has been received for the expansion of the Northern Animal Health Initiative. This outstanding grant has been provided by Canadian philanthropists Kim and Stu Lang via their Angel Gabriel Foundation.

The Northern Animal Health Initiative launched as a pilot program in 2019 and has since administered more than 630 vaccinations, spayed and neutered close to 200 animals, and provided other necessary surgeries and examinations.

Dogs are loved and valued in Northern communities and have deep cultural and community significance. However, in 2017, a study conducted on behalf of VWB found 54 remote communities of 100 or more people in Canada’s three northern territories had little or no access to veterinary services.

Animals in the northern regions of Canada tend to live shorter lives, dying from diseases and causes that are either treatable or preventable.

Veterinarians without Borders supports communities by offering temporary veterinary clinics in a growing number of under-served communities in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. Once invited, we work to identify needs and build a plan with community representatives to build local capacity to address animal care needs year-round.

Programming will integrate the One Health approach, recognizing that the health of animals is strongly interconnected with that of people and the environments they inhabit. Using this interdisciplinary and integrated approach is recognized as the most effective method of creating positive and sustainable health outcomes for both people and animals.

A bursary program will be offered to assist young people in the Territories in pursuing an education in veterinary medicine and/or animal care. This is with the goal of building Northern capacity and expertise within the communities.

“The Lang’s support will enable VWB and our northern community partners to build a sustainable framework that will create the conditions for lasting, community-driven animal health,” said Charmaine Brett, Executive Director of Veterinarians without Borders. Brett continues: “VWB places a significant focus on building partnerships with local communities. Kim’s vision for creating positive change, and her passion for the One Health approach, will allow us to help more animals in need, and it will elevate the voices and impact of our northern community partners. Kim and Stu Lang’s gift is transformational in its scope, and it is a very personal reflection of their deep love for animals and their desire to do a lot of good in the world. It’s philanthropic leadership at its best.”

“It is so meaningful for us to be involved in launching the expansion of such a special project, the Northern Animal Health Initiative,” said Kim Lang. “Our gift is a heartfelt expression of our life-long love for animals and our hope that this program makes a positive difference in the world. I hope it will have lasting beneficial impacts on animals in the north and the people who love them, by vastly improving access to life-saving veterinary care for animals who mean so much to their families and their communities.”

Media Contact:

Charmaine Brett
Executive Director
M: +1-613-880-1655

Veterinarians without Borders acknowledges and recognizes that our headquarters office in Ottawa is on the unceded, unsurrendered Territory of the Anishinaabe Algonquin Nation.

Resource: Local Perspective on rabies in Tuktoyaktuk, Northwest Territories

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