An animal protection body on Saturday asked the Centre and states to prepare specific plans with required financial and technical resources to protect animals and the livelihood of the people from any disaster in the future.
On the occasion of International Day for Disaster Reduction, World Animal Protection asked the Centre to set up a Veterinary Emergency Fund. It also urged the Central and all state governments to ensure that efforts to reduce disaster risk include animal protection.
The body said India has been leading the way in this regard by integrating animals in the national disaster management policy, plans and as well as in search and rescue operations.
“Today, we urge the Government of India to set up a Veterinary Emergency Fund for effective implementation of these initiatives,” the World Animal Protection(WAP) said.
“WAP also urges all States and UTs to develop their dedicated State Animal Disaster Management Plans with all the required financial and technical resources in place so that we can ensure that animals and the livelihood of the people are protected from any future disasters,” it added.
Animal health, welfare and protection has massive implications for community nutrition, food security and agricultural output.
WAP said around 2.5 billion people around the world are small-scale farmers, herders, pastoralists, fishers or are dependent on forests, and all of them rely on animals for their livelihoods. Eighteen of the poorest countries are reliant on livestock.
Animal-dependent communities are extremely vulnerable to natural disasters and many of the countries with the highest density of livestock keepers are also those with high multi-hazard ratings, it said.
A comprehensive study of 78 post-disaster needs assessments, covering 48 developing countries, found that crop and livestock losses amounted to more than USD 24 billion, the body said.
WAP recently responded to the devastating floods in Kerala by providing cattle feed and mineral mixture in the deluge-affected areas of Alappuzha, Pathnamthitta, Kottayam, Ernakulam and Thrissur districts along with the Department of Animal Husbandry of the Keralagovernment and Indian Red Cross Society.
This directly benefitted 34,852 animals and the livelihood of 12,504 households, it said.
“The recent floods in Kerala is a painful reminder that governments need to prepare for natural disasters, said Gajender K Sharma, the India Country Director of World Animal Protection.
“In addition to the high loss of human and animal life, agricultural, fishing and cattle breeding industries have been badly damaged. This will have a long-term effect on the state,” he said.
Target C of the Sendai Framework, an international agreement adopted by the UN member states with the aim of reducing disaster risk globally, is the focus of this year’s International Day for Disaster Reduction. It centres on reducing disaster-related economic losses in relation to global GDP by 2030, it said.
“To successfully reduce disaster economic losses, protection of animals must be taken more seriously. We have seen economies and communities suffer from lack of preparedness. It is essential that animal-inclusive disaster risk reduction strategies are adopted,” Sharma said.