Political parties should promise to protect animals in disasters in their election manifesto
Ahead of the general elections this year, World Animal Protection is calling on all the political parties urging them to include protecting animals during disasters in their election manifesto.
India has been leading the way by integrating animals in the national disaster management policy, plans and as well as in the search and rescue operations but more needs to be done. Including this issue in their election manifesto will show the intent of the political parties towards taking steps to protect animals during disasters.
India is vulnerable to various sorts of natural disasters in varying degrees including earthquakes, floods, cyclones and tsunamis, and draughts. Every year India suffers an average of US$ one billion in disaster losses, direct natural losses amounting to almost 2% of India’s GDP and up to 12% of the central government’s revenue. On an average 97,000 cattle are lost every year from floods alone.
Animal health, welfare and protection has massive implications for community nutrition, food security and agricultural output. World Animal Protection urges leading political parties to include the following in their election manifesto:
· Necessary legal framework with adequate resources (human resources, funds, insurance, trainings, animal handling and rescue equipment, etc) will be ensured to protect animals and livelihood of farmers from disasters at all administrative levels.
· Necessary infrastructures (feed and fodder banks, emergency animal evacuation shelters, etc.) and structural facilities will be established in or nearby vulnerable areas for protecting animals from disasters and extreme weather conditions.
· Innovative species-specific disaster-specific and region-specific animal shelters will be constructed with a state-of-art modern technology by preserving and building on the existing traditional practices and coping mechanisms.
· Measures will be taken to address Trans-boundary animal issues and bio security measures will be ensured in all animal farms and veterinary institutions to prevent and control the spread of zoonotic diseases with the aim of promoting "One Health One Welfare".
“World Animal Protection is working towards ensuring that animals are not the forgotten victims of a disaster. We have been working closely with various state governments and the central governments to ensure that animals are included in the disaster management plans and also there are budgetary provisions to enable the same. Through their election manifesto the political parties have an opportunity to not only promise protecting animals, but also the livelihoods of millions who depend upon these animals,” said Gajender K Sharma, India Country Director at World Animal Protection.
World Animal Protection recently responded to the Kerala floods in India by providing cattle feed and mineral mixture in the flood affected areas of Alappuzha, Pathnamthitta, Kottayam, Ernakulam and Thrissur districts along with the Department of Animal Husbandry, Government of Kerala and the Indian Red Cross Society – Kerala State Branch. This flood relief operation for animals directly benefitted 34,852 animals and the livelihood of 12,504 households. The Department of Animal Husbandry, Govt. of Kerala states that 46,016 livestock and 2,500,000 poultry succumbed to the floods and continuous heavy rains. This can be mitigated if proper planning is in place to manage animals during disasters.
World Animal Protection has over 55 years of experience in protecting animals during disasters. In India, World Animal Protection works with the National Disaster Management Authority, National Institute of Disaster Management, Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying & Fisheries and has also provided training to the National Disaster Response Force to manage animals during disasters throughout the subcontinent.