Lakshmi – Journey of the inflatable cow to Geneva that represented 1.5 billion animals in the global disaster conference

Posted on 30 May 2019 by

Hansen Thambi Prem

in the Animals in Disasters blog

Who is Lakshmi? Lakshmi is the gorgeous red inflatable cow that took a journey from New Delhi to Geneva in May 2019.

The story of Lakshmi

Lakshmi is the gorgeous red inflatable cow that took a journey from New Delhi to Geneva in May 2019 so that the voices of 1.5 billion Indian animals are heard by the United Nations, governments and disaster management stakeholders in the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction (GPDRR) which was held at the International Conference Centre Geneva, Switzerland from 13th to 17th May 2019.

In India, animals are at the heart of everything, be it family, culture and livelihood, animals are an intrinsic part of our lives. The name “Lakshmi” means wealth, fortune and prosperity and this name will be meaningful to animals and the people dependent on them, only if we all collectively realize the need and importance to protect animals from disasters. There are billions of animals in the country with different names, and the goal will remain the same, protection of all animals from disasters are ensured by the government.  

Animals are often the forgotten victims of disasters, millions of animals die and suffer from disasters every year, who are neither accounted for in assessment findings nor reported of their impact and losses; and in most cases, they aren’t even mentioned in the disaster management plans. In India, a total of 168 million livestock are prone to droughts and 198 million livestock are prone to floods every year.

Why are animals forgotten? 

Why are animals forgotten? Is it because they can’t raise their voice and talk for themselves, or have we become insensitive to the fact that they too deserve a life worth living? By not protecting the animals we are failing to protect the food and nutrition security, nation’s economic growth, and the livelihood of millions of people who rely on them for their survival. 

Real animals cannot travel like us to different conferences and raise their voice so that their concerns are heard. It is us who have a greater responsibility to take care of them and ensure animals remain protected from disasters. Mahatma Gandhi said, “The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated”. So, let's promote a culture of compassion towards all sentient beings and create a world where animals live free from cruelty and suffering.  

Other Inflatable Animals

Like Lakshmi, there were other inflatable animals too (Pig from United States of America, Goat from Costa Rica, Horse from Brazil, Camel from Kenya, and Dog from Thailand) that joined her at the GPDRR to represent the voices of animals that are frequently affected by disasters, extreme weather events and from the impacts of climate change globally.

Therefore, we urge the national and state governments to include animals into their disaster management plans. We also ask the United Nations, governments and disaster management stakeholders not to forget animals. The efforts we put together to protect them through the disaster management policies, plans and programmes will collectively contribute towards the achievement of the global targets like Sendai Framework, Climate Change Adaptations, and Sustainable Development Goals.

Please join Lakshmi in raising your voice for protecting animals from disasters and #DontForgetThem

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