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 the global animal welfare organisation for animals under direct human influence, which reveals suffering, rescues animals in need and protects them. Founded in 1988 in Vienna by Heli Dungler, the organisation advocates for a world where humans treat animals with respect, empathy and understanding. FOUR PAWS’ sustainable campaigns and projects focus on companion animals including stray dogs and cats, farm animals and wild animals – such as bears, big cats, orangutans and elephants – kept in inappropriate conditions as well as in disaster and conflict zones. With offices in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany, Kosovo, the Netherlands, Switzerland, South Africa, Thailand, Ukraine, the UK, the USA and Vietnam as well as sanctuaries for rescued animals in twelve countries, FOUR PAWS provides rapid help and long-term solutions. 

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