As Prime Minister, I am honored to endorse Operation Potcake 2024, a significant initiative that stands as a testament to our commitment to animal welfare and social responsibility. This commendable project is a collaborative endeavor involving the Bahamas Humane Society, Baark!, and Animal Balance, and is generously supported by the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Tourism, and the VMAB. It is a perfect example of how compassion and collective action can bring about meaningful change.
The journey of Operation Potcake began in 2012, in response to the growing dog population in New Providence. This initiative led to the most extensive island-wide High-Quality, High-Volume Spay and Neuter (HQHVSN) event ever conducted. The collaboration drew over 100 international veterinary medical volunteers, who, together with local teams, successfully spayed and neutered 2,315 dogs across five strategically located clinics.
Since 2013, Baark! and the Bahamas Humane Society (BHS) have expanded their efforts to include clinics in the outer islands and annual clinics on New Providence. Remarkably, Baark! has spayed and neutered nearly 30,000 dogs and cats over the past 13 years. Their mobile clinic program, operating five days a week in New Providence, has been pivotal in assisting and educating low-income communities, contributing to over 6,000 spays and neuters since April 2022.
As we approach Operation Potcake 2024, we recognize the challenges brought forth by the pandemic, which has led to a surge in the dog population. However, with the support and expertise of spay/neuter professionals, we are confident in our ability to humanely control the pet population in the impoverished areas of the islands. Our goal is ambitious yet attainable: to spay and neuter 3,000 dogs and cats in just eight days in January 2024.
This initiative is more than just a campaign for population control; it is a movement fueled by a love for animals and a deep-seated belief in the humane treatment of all living creatures. I urge everyone to support this noble cause, as it not only enhances the welfare of animals but also strengthens the fabric of our communities.
Together, we can make a significant difference in the lives of our four-legged friends and the people who care for them. Operation Potcake 2024 is a shining example of what we can achieve when we unite for a common purpose. Let us all join hands in making this initiative a resounding success.