2018 Spay/Neuter Brigade

The Foundation for Cultural Exchange, along with veterinarians from Planned Pethood Mexico and local Salvadoran veterinarians, is launching the first annual Spay/Neuter Brigade in El Espino, El Salvador to improve the health and well-being of both residents and animals. The campaign will take place June 1-3 and will spay/neuter 300 animals in 3 days!The budget for this brigade is approximately $10,000 to ensure that we can provide all the surgeries, medications, and vaccinations free of cost. The community of El Espino lives at or below the poverty line, so we believe this is the only way to ensure that no animals go unaltered simply because of an inability to pay. We are requesting half of the funding from corporate sponsors and foundations (including in-kind requests for supplies), but are calling on our community to help us raise the other half in cash. Click here to view the trip flyer.

We are also recruiting travelers to take part in this volunteer brigade. The trip is May 29-June 6 and includes cultural activities in and around the capital city of San Salvador following the three-day spay/neuter campaign in our sister city of El Espino. The all-inclusive cost of $1,800 covers your air transportation, lodging, and meals while in the country.

Why focus on spaying/neutering animals when there are so many other needs in the community?

Animal health is directly related to human health, especially when animals are free to roam, as they are in El Salvador. By spaying and neutering dogs and cats, and simultaneously administering critical vaccines, we will improve the health of the animals, decrease their propensity to stray far from home in search of a mate, and limit the transmission of illness from animal to animal—and in turn, animal to human. Further, animals in El Salvador have very short life spans compared to their counterparts in our country. They are extremely likely to be hit by cars, poisoned, or simply die from a lack of veterinary care when they get sick. Trauma is cumulative, and in a place where gang violence claims lives every day, it takes a toll on the individual and community psyche, even if it’s “just an animal” that dies. I’ve watched it firsthand in my adoptive household there; the death of an animal is emotionally brutal when you’re still grieving the loss of murdered friends and loved ones. By reducing some of that preventable death through these spay and neuter efforts, it will also reduce the collective trauma the community experiences, even if on a small scale.

And finally, one of the most exciting aspects of this campaign, this is the first campaign of its kind to ever be carried out in El Salvador. El Espino will attract vets from around the country and will garner lots of positive press for this work. We will be training Salvadoran veterinarians in the first few years of the campaign and making them the local experts so that eventually the brigades are self-sustaining. El Espino will be “on the map” for its expertise in these campaigns and for the way it cares for its animals as a community.