When disasters strike, it is not just humans that suffer. Other animals suffer and die too.
Recent tragedies like the China earthquake and the Burma cyclone have affected huge numbers of animals.
What happens is that, in poor countries with extremely limited resources, the idea of giving priority to human victims means that other animals are left without any help, even when the human survivors depend on them for their livelihoods.
A leading international animal welfare charity’s work: WSPA
There are, luckily, organizations that are dedicated to helping animals internationally and are particularly needed in the case of calamities, as well as in campaigns to stop several forms of animal abuse on a daily basis.
Perhaps the most active association in this field of aiding animals in natural catastrophes is the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA)
Disaster management is one of the categories of WSPA’s activity, and one of the reasons is that they say that animal welfare is a vital part of rebuilding of communities after a disaster.
In the event of the cyclone in Burma, an emergency veterinary team from the World Society for the Protection of Animals was in Thailand awaiting entry authority to cyclone-struck Myanmar to ascertain and then relieve the suffering of a large number of animals.
“No-one else, Governments, humanitarian NGOs or owners have the resources to care for these animals, most of which are owned by poor impoverished families” is the grim diagnosis of Philip Russell MBE (Member of the British Empire, an honour given by the Queen), Director of Disaster Management of the WSPA.
The association’s emergency response team is involved not only in first aid and veterinary assistance but in trying to stop the spread of diseases, by separating animals into temporary holding pens. Humid conditions, endemic diseases like Foot and Mouth, animals’ weakened immune systems, and overcrowded camps all contribute to a contagious environment where disease develops and spreads quickly. WSPA is there to help with veterinary checks and to introduce preventative measures, in particular vaccinations, antibiotics and de-worming.
Emergency food is also necessary, as it is improbable that there will be food for surviving animals.
“WSPA works to align animal welfare and humanitarian agendas to reduce poverty, hunger and disease in humans. Equally, by complementing humanitarian efforts in this way we increase the number of animals we protect,” explained Russell.
If you wish to help, you can give donations to WSPA, and in this way you can support WSPA