People depend on animals for their livelihood. One billion of the world’s most vulnerable to disasters rely on their livestock to recover in the aftermath.
People and animals in disasters
Animals are sentient beings. They suffer in similar ways to humans, and depend on us for protection when disasters strike. The suffering and loss of animals in disasters affects our emotional wellbeing, and even cultural identities. They are our companions, and play a major role in the lives and social structures of communities.
The loss of livestock, a key productive asset, jeopardises food security, sustainable economic growth and incomes. Over a third of the total economic loss caused by disasters impacts the agricultural sector, with 40% of this loss affecting the livestock sector.
National governments and animal owners in disasters
Governments and animal owners are the front line of the protection of animals and livelihoods in disasters. Most preparedness or mitigation measures, along with the reduction of risks and losses of animals in disasters, are their responsibility.
Often, both the government and livestock owners lack the knowledge and capacity to implement successful preparation strategies to protect animals. The resulting failure to take action causes animals to suffer and die, people to lose their livelihoods, social structures to break down, and economies to collapse.
Each country must have national strategies to reduce the risks of disasters, and meet their commitments to implement the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction by 2030. To safeguard livelihoods, the protection of animals should be always be included in disaster risk reduction strategies.
Animal owners can be given tools and tactics to protect their animals.
Animal protection in disaster risk reduction (DRR) strategies
National DRR strategies must safeguard and meet the immediate needs of people and animals affected by disasters. The livelihoods of 800 million livestock keepers that live on less than USD $2 a day depend on this.
DRR strategies must include protection of animals, as well as data systems to measure the vulnerability of animals in disasters and its impact on livelihoods. Clear and standardised tracking of animal impacts informs better policy and practical decisions, and understanding of the impacts disasters have on the livestock sector. DRR strategies contribute to better animal welfare and strengthen the resilience of persons, businesses, communities and countries after disasters strike.
Animals in Disasters Initiative
We're launching an international, cross-sector alliance to support countries and animal owners in taking action to increase disaster prevention. Supporters of the Initiative will encourage national governments to include the protection of animals in their DRR strategies.
The initiative will help governments meet commitments to implement the Sendai Framework, as well as advance the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change Adaptation (CCA).
We contribute by offering over 50 years’ experience in preparedness and management of animals in disasters. We will share best cases of policy and practice, with evidence-based solutions for national governments to replicate and implement. We will train and help to build the capacity of veterinarians – as well as other professionals and academia – on disaster preparedness, disaster risk reduction and disaster management by using online tools, such as the online course PrepVet®. We will continue to deploy our staff to provide onsite disaster relief, recovery and rehabilitation for animals and livelihoods where needs outstrip local capacities.
International and multilateral organisations
Encourage national governments to include animal protection in their DRR strategies.
Learn how to achieve Sendai Framework targets by protecting animals in disasters, including the development of a data system to measure the vulnerability of animals and livelihoods in disasters.
About World Animal Protection
We move the world to protect animals. We envision a world where animals live free from suffering and cruelty. We offer over 50 years of experience in moving the world to protect animals in disasters, as well as animals in farming, in the wild, and in communities. We have helped governments and communities prepare and recover from disasters, enabling people to protect animals, build back better and ensure resilient livelihoods.