The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 presents a paradigm shift. The focus has moved from disaster management to disaster risk management, focusing on protecting livelihoods as well as saving people and property. In particular, Sendai included a clear commitment to the protection of livelihoods and productive assets, including livestock and working animals.
There is growing recognition of the interdependency between people and their animals, and some NGOs and Governments are beginning to address this in their DRR work. The sections below explains why it is important for animal protection to be systematically integrated into both DRR policy and practice.
Why animals need to be protected?
Over a billion poor people rely on animals for food and income. 752 million livestock keepers live on less than $2 a day1. Livestock contribute to livelihoods in a variety of ways, playing many roles. From providing meat, milk and eggs; to assisting with ploughing fields; they can be sold for cash or play a role in cultural identity.
Another consideration is companion animals. Pets provide comfort and physiological support to their owners; animals such as dogs and cats are often seen as ‘part of the family’.
Animals are sentient beings and they have the same basic needs as humans for food, water, health care and shelter. Animals therefore suffer during disasters in the same way as people.
Why are animals important in DRR?
Many of the countries with the most poor livestock keepers2, are also those with high multi-hazard ratings3. According to the FAO the livestock sector absorbs almost 8% of the economic impacts caused by natural hazards4. People’s ability to resist and recover from disasters is closely interlinked with their animals’ wellbeing. Consequently, protecting animals must be an intrinsic part of disaster risk reduction to reduce suffering, accelerate recovery and limit dependency on aid post-disaster.
It is also important to include pets in disaster preparation and planning. A need which was clearly demonstrated in Hurricane Katrina in the USA in 2005. Rescuers reported numerous instances where people refused to evacuate without their animals, which severely impacted their health and safety, and that of the rescuers. Research conducted by World Animal Protection in Costa Rica, Mexico and Colombia determined that 75% of urban pet owners would not leave their pets behind during an evacuation, even if they only had five minutes, which reflects the importance of considering pets during an emergency5. When risk information is not available or mechanisms are not in place, both people and animals are more at risk.
Resources selected for you
- Report | Economists at Large 2011 'The economic impacts of losing livestock in a disaster' [ ENGLISH3 MB]
- Report | FAO 2015 'The impact of natural hazards and disasters on agriculture and food security and nutrition' [ ENGLISH1.22 MB]
- DiscussionPaper | LEGS 2012 'LEGS and resilience: linking livestock, livelihoods and drought management in the horn of Africa' [ ENGLISH598.6 KB]
- Standards & Guidelines | LEGS 2015 Livestock Emergency Guidelines and Standards (LEGS) [ ENGLISH 20153.79 MB] [ FRENCH 20155.63 MB] [ SPANISH 20135.12 MB]
- Planning guidance | American Red Cross 2015 'Your Plan Should Include All Family Members' [ENGLISH]
- Safety Checklist | American Red Cross 2015 Pets and Disaster Safety Checklist [ ENGLISH306.93 KB] [ FRENCH333.54 KB] [ SPANISH264.7 KB]
- Newsitem | UNISDR 'Floods catch zoo unprepared' [ENGLISH]
Links to existing portals/key websites
- World Animal Protection: http://www.worldanimalprotection.org/drr
- Livestock Emergency Guidelines and Standards: http://www.livestock-emergency.net/
- World Animal Protection | How healthy animals protect livelihoods and build resilience [ENGLISH245.76 KB]
- World Animal Protection | Typhoon Haiyan: effective response, preparedness and resilience in the Philippines [ ENGLISH327.5 KB]
- Philippines - HFA Success Stories – effective response, preparedness and resilience in the Philippines [Watch on YouTube | 6:32 minutes | ENGLISH]
- Mexico - Chihuahua, together we can help [Watch on Vimeo | 3:00 minutes | SPANISH w/ ENGLISH SUBTITLES]
- Global - ‘Thunder’ campaign video targeting urban pet owners [Watch on YouTube | 0:29 minutes | SPANISH w/ ENGLISH SUBTITLES]
- 1 Otte, A. Costales, J. Dijkman, U. Pica-Ciamarra, T. Robinson, V. Ahuja, C. Ly and D. Roland-Holst. (2012) ‘Livestock Sector Development for Poverty Reduction: An Economic and Policy Perspective — Livestock's Many Virtues’ FAO: Rome Available at: http://www.fao.org/docrep/015/i2744e/i2744e00.pdf Accessed: 16/10/15 Page 30
- 2 Otte, A. Costales, J. Dijkman, U. Pica-Ciamarra, T. Robinson, V. Ahuja, C. Ly and D. Roland-Holst. (2012) ‘Livestock Sector Development for Poverty Reduction: An Economic and Policy Perspective — Livestock's Many Virtues’ FAO: Rome Available at: http://www.fao.org/docrep/015/i2744e/i2744e00.pdf Accessed: 16/10/15 Page 9
- 3 Shepherd, A., Mitchell, T., Lewis, K., Lenhardt, A., Jones, L., Scott, L. and Muir-Wood, R. (2013) ‘The geography of poverty, disasters and climate extremes in 2030’ ODI Available at: http://www.odi.org/sites/odi.org.uk/files/odi-assets/publications-opinion-files/8633.pdf Accessed: 16/10/15 Page 2
- 4 Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). (May 2015) ‘The impact of natural hazards and disasters on agriculture and food security and nutrition’ FAO: Rome Available at: http://www.fao.org/3/a-i4434e.pdf Accessed: 16/10/15 Page 5
- 5 Hesterberg, Uta. Huertas, Gerardo, Appleby, Michael (2012) ‘Perceptions of pet owners in urban Latin America on protection of their animals during disasters’ in Disaster Prevention and Management, Vol. 21 Iss: 1, pp.37 – 50