When disaster strikes, things need to happen fast: animal rescue, the provision of veterinary services and the protection of domestic animals that form the livelihood of the local population. Natural and man-made disasters often demonstrate the significant role of animals in the community. Farm animals are an important part of community life and keeping these animals healthy will help it to recover. Companion animals play a huge role in helping their owners cope in a disaster and get back on their feet once they are able to return home.
Being prepared for a disaster is crucial – it helps to mitigate the impact of potential events. Setting up plans and emergency legislation should be part of community preparation efforts. In reality, and with very few exceptions, animals are almost never included in disaster preparedness or related legislation. The FOUR PAWS European Policy Office therefore advocates a change to this status quo through the integration of animal welfare into disaster-related legislation on an international level, for example in EU legislation and UN conventions. According to the ‘One Welfare’ and ‘One Health’ approaches, humans, animals and their environment should be jointly taken into consideration.
- Being prepared is crucial. Prepare yourself and plan for your animals. Having a disaster plan and kit is always useful.
- If you have a role in drafting a disaster plan for your community, think about how to shelter farm and companion animals. The state of wildlife also affects the recovery of the community. FOUR PAWS can provide advice and expertise. Contact us.