Update of 31th May: The final report has been voted in plenary
FOUR PAWS welcomes today's European Parliament's ENVI vote recognizing the key role of animals during disasters
The EP Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety has overwhelmingly supported today the consideration of animals in a EU disaster related political text. The adopted report on the Proposal for a Decision of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Decision No 1313/2013/EU on a Union Civil Protection Mechanism, rightly points out the importance to take 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, points out the importance of people, environment and property, including cultural heritage, but fails to include animals as potential victims during disasters, which is essential for the community to recover more quickly 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 been supporting for years, local communities that are victims of natural or man-made disasters, by helping animals", says Pierre SULTANA, Director of the European Policy Office of FOUR PAWS in BRUSSELS, and a trained First Animal Responder. Last year, FOUR PAWS assisted animals during humanitarian and rescue missions, such as in PUERTO RICO after hurricane Maria, or in GAZA, MOSUL and ALEPPO.
According to the European Commission's DG ECHO, for every euro spent in disaster prevention, 4 to 7 euros are saved in disaster response. "Given the importance of animals for the economy and the communities, we are pleased that the Parliamentarians encourage 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 the planning, the implementation and the enforcement in the EU and national legislation thereof", warns SULTANA.
The report should now be voted during the plenary sessions of May or June 2018, before the launch of the trilogue negotiations.