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Sunday, December 11, 2011

Consider a Year-End Donation in Support of the Animals

Posted by Dr. Donald F. Smith, Cornell University
December 11, 2011.

If you are planning charitable donations this time of year, you may want to consider animal health and welfare programs among your causes to support. For those who don't know where to turn, I offer these suggestions.

The value of supporting the local community:
Local humane shelters are among the most money-strapped animal non profits in the country. They operate in local communities, providing critical services for adoption and education, as well as dealing with animal rescue, cruelty prevention, and pet overpopulation issues. I have always been impressed by the number of older veterinarians who leave a legacy of giving generously of their time and professional expertise for local shelters and, upon their death, have designated  that memorial gifts in their honor be made to a local shelter.

Supporting the Next Generation of Veterinarians:
Twenty years ago, the ratio of staring salary to educational debt for a graduating veterinarian was 1:1.  It is now almost 1:3, and the ratio is spreading. State financial support for veterinary colleges has been under siege for at least two decades, and has plummeted precipitously in the last four years. I recently estimated that the average level of operating support for veterinary colleges is less than $2.00 per capita. Many states provide no direct support for veterinary colleges nor do they provide even partial tuition support for students who attend out-of-state colleges because there are no veterinary colleges in their home state.

Cornell University's Graduating DVM Class of 2011 (May 2011)

Each of the 28 veterinary colleges in the United States has scholarship funds that would benefit from your donation. Consult the website of your favorite college, or contact me directly and I can provide you with the name and address of the appropriate contact at the college of your choice.

Support Veterinary Medical Research:
There are several reputable organizations that support research on animal health and welfare. Two that I consider among the most effective are: The Morris Animal Foundation  (supporting the health of pets and wildlife) and the Winn Feline Foundation (for cats).

Among my favorite conservation and wildlife programs are the Wildlife Conservation Society, which includes the world-famous Bronx Zoo where the West Nile Virus was isolated in 1999; and the Cheetah Conservation Fund, a scientifically-based program located in Namibia, Africa.  

As always, I welcome comments and questions at
All photos provided by the author.