New Delhi, Delhi, India
Today is a big day for animals, with the launch of National Livestock Disaster Management Plan for the Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries by Shri Radha Mohan Singh, Honourable Minister of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare – thereby syncing animal protection into the heart of disaster management.
The plan for the first time ensures that animals will be included in disaster preparations, potentially saving millions of animals’ lives and building the resilience of the communities that depend on them.
The National Workshop on Management of Animals in Emergencies at the NIDM, New Delhi, saw participation from not just the Centre but also representatives from many of the state government as well.
During the two day session, the dignitaries and delegates will deliberate to identify possible solution to address the gaps and constraints faced by the various departments due to inadequate human resources on the ground, limited animal handling equipment, infrastructures to stock fodder and shelter animals, transportation of animals, carcass disposal structures, etc.
This first of its kind, the National level workshop was jointly organized by NIDM, World Animal Protection and PPF.
At the inaugural event, Shri Radha Mohan Singh, Honourable Minister of Agriculture said “In India, animals are at the heart of everything, be it family, culture and livelihood, animals are an intrinsic part of our lives. It’s ironical that animals were missing in the picture till now.”
“In our economy, especially in rural areas, animals are extremely important. Hence, putting focus on animal rescue during disasters becomes crucial from economic viewpoint. Animals are the assets of the nation and it is our foremost duty to protect them.”
He also added, “I am happy to share that NDRF is now being trained to rescue animals along with people during disasters. And I would like to congratulate NIDM and partnering stakeholders World Animal Protection and PPF for this landmark achievement. It’s an honour to be a part of this milestone.”
He assured that the Government would incorporate as many inputs and suggestion possible to bring in animals into the heart of disaster management.
Ashok Kumar Angurana, Secretary, Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries, Ministry of Agriculture, while attending the event said, “Destiny of animals and humans are intertwined and if animals are at risk, so are we. It’s a great platform where all the stakeholders have been engaged to formulize the DM plan- first of its kind initiative to develop a roadmap for the welfare of animals in emergencies. I express my sincere gratitude to NIDM, People Perspective Foundation, National Disaster Management Authority and World Animal Protection for their tremendous contribution in developing this framework.”
“At least, now we have a standard operating procedure in place to guide on what needs to be done with animals in case of emergencies. It is in the interest of human beings that animals are protected. I am sure this workshop with bring out doable and workable recommendation.”
Also attending the event, Shri KM Singh, Former Member NDMA, Vice President PPF said, “I can proudly say that a firm foundation has been laid on management of animals in emergencies. This is our highest priority of work.”
“Disaster Management Act is a holistic Act but has a serious gap – it has inclusion of human being, property etc. but no mention of animals in it. Apart from that, there also lies certain gaps in terms of integration of the department of animal husbandry, need of adequate training for resource personnel, and requirement of awareness building activities especially amongst animal owners.”
“But with the release of the Disaster Management Plan by our Honourable Minister and the commencement of this workshop I have an assurance that by working together with NIDM and World Animal Protection, who have the experience and expertise in handling animals in emergencies, we will be able to integrate animals in the Disaster Management Ac.t”
Speaking at the inaugural ceremony, Prof Santosh Kumar, Executive Director, NIDM said, “It’s a big day for all of us. And it’s a great privilege for us to have Honourable Minister of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, Shri Radha Mohan Singh to inaugurate the session and release the first Disaster Management Plan with animals integrated into it for the Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries.”
“We have been working persistently to integrate animals in to the Disaster Management Plan. NIDM has been working on disaster management not just in India, but with other countries as well. But all these years, it’s always been about human life.”
“We firmly believe that animals are at the heart of disaster management but it’s was until now that we didn’t have a standard protocol and procedures to be followed for their rescue and relief. With the integration of animals into this plan we hope we will be able bridge this gap which exits.”
Gajender Sharma, Country Director of World Animal Protection India, said: “It a big milestone in the journey of animals in disaster management. We have been working to bring in animals into the core of disaster management. It’s encouraging for us to get support from the Government on the incorporation of our inputs from the workshop deliberation.”
“This workshop is a great opportunity to learn and share our experiences, and we sincerely hope that by the end of this workshop, we will have clarity on how, when and what needs to be done to protect animals in disasters.”
During disasters it is not only people that suffer, animals do too: thousands lose their lives, and many more are injured and lost.