Animals should be better protected during disasters


FOUR PAWS welcomes today's European Parliament ENVI vote recognising the key role of animals during disasters.

The EP Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety today overwhelmingly supported the consideration of animals in an EU disaster-related political text. The adopted report on the Proposal for a Decision of the European Parliament and the Council amending Decision No. 1313/2013/EU on a Union Civil Protection Mechanism, rightly points out the importance of taking animals into consideration when planning disaster risk prevention, by suggesting their inclusion in two different parts of the text.

Until now, the Union Civil Protection Mechanism, which aims at enabling a coordinated response to disasters, has underlined the importance of people, environment and property, including cultural heritage, but has failed to include animals as potential victims during disasters. The welfare of animals is essential for the community's quick recovery and to avoid poverty.

"Disasters demonstrate how much animals are an important part of our society. Not only farm animals are crucial for many agricultural businesses and in the European economy, but also companion animals are important as they are considered as members of the family. Finally, wildlife is a complete part of the identity of a country. For this reason, FOUR PAWS has for years been supporting local communities that are victims of natural or man-made disasters, by helping animals."

Pierre Sultana, Director of the FOUR PAWS European Policy Office in Brussels and a trained First Animal Responder 

Last year, FOUR PAWS assisted animals during humanitarian and rescue missions, including in Puerto Rico after hurricane Maria, and in Gaza, Mosul and Aleppo.

According to the European Commission's DG ECHO, for every euro spent in disaster prevention, four to seven euros are saved in disaster response. "Given the importance of animals for the economy and the communities, we are pleased that Parliamentarians are encouraging countries and the Commission to adopt a medium to long-term and sustainable approach to mitigate the impact of disasters on animals and to help develop awareness. The next step shall be to ensure planning, implementation and enforcement in the EU and national legislation", concluded Sultana.

The report will now be voted on during the plenary sessions of May or June 2018, before the launch of the trialogue negotiations.

FOUR PAWS is an international animal welfare organisation with headquarters in Vienna, Austria. Founded by Heli Dungler in 1988, the organisation strives to help animals in need with sustainable campaigns and projects. The work is based on substantiated research and scientific expertise as well as intensive national and international lobbying. FOUR PAWS focuses on animals that are directly under human influence: stray dogs and stray cats, farm animals, companion animals and wild animals including bears, big cats and orang-utans kept in inappropriate conditions. With offices in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany, Hungary, Kosovo, Netherlands, South Africa, Switzerland, Thailand, Ukraine, United Kingdom, USA and Vietnam, FOUR PAWS aims to help animals in need directly and quickly.