Healthcare for animals


Our CNMI animals are an important part of our island economy in dollars, mental health benefits, and food sources. So why don’t we do a better job to support our animals with healthcare to ensure that they live to their fullest potential for providing the benefits that can help add to the cash flow and wealth of our islands? Our ranchers know how much the loss of a cow, calf, hog, or piglet cost in lost income. Now goats are also becoming assets families rely on. These animals are economically important. If they become sick or get injured and die, what is the real cost to our economy? Who do we have that can fix them?

It is well documented by very smart people, and I believe all of us, that pets like dogs, cats, and rabbits can have very positive impacts on the mental health of youngsters and the man’amko to improve and extend their lives. Most people can see the affection that kids and adults have for their pets. Why do we deny pets healthcare when it is so easy to provide!? It only takes a little money! Suicide rates can be lowered. Post-traumatic syndrome and medical recovery rates are increased when pets are called on! What value does this fact have. Can we afford not to provide this help? God gave us our animals for a reason; why don’t we take better care of them?

It seems that every family in the CNMI has at least one dog to provide security. How much is this protection worth? A dog’s bark may be worth a life. We need to protect our dogs’ health just as they protect us; it is a two-way street.

There is recently talk about building a slaughterhouse on Tinian to process meat for our local markets, including the military. The quality of the meat must be 100% safe. We need people who can do this for us!

To accomplish all of the things I mentioned above, we need professionally trained people like veterinarians and others to protect our animals and the humans that live here.

How can we get these things done ASAP? Our government must help by providing leadership! We need money, and we have it in our current cash flow! Several years ago the CNMI ran out of money. What to do? Nobody likes taxes, but what is reasonable? We currently pay a tax of only $0.15 per gallon of gasoline, yet many countries in the world are paying a tax of over $1 per gallon. Question, is our gasoline tax rate reasonable in view of our needs as a society? I say no, because we could raise our tax rate to $0.25 to $0.30 per gallon and that would cover most of the money needed to pay for the healthcare needed. A Japanese veterinarian that runs four state-of-the-art veterinary hospitals in Japan today estimated the CNMI government would need to spend $1.5 million to build one hospital. To be fair this is probably not enough for one veterinary hospital here in the CNMI. The numbers from my original calculations are now old and need to be looked at again, but when I did the original work, the proposal brought in $3 to $4 million per year, depending on the gasoline consumed.

Let’s do something! I would like to see a professional accountant take a serious look at this proposal to see if we can generate the money needed to address our animal healthcare problems. The CNMI government needs to provide this support to its people! Do it now!

Frank Stewart
Capital Hill, Saipan

Contributing Author

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